Joint rheumatism: symptoms and treatment in adults

With age, many people have problems with their joints - they hurt or ache, when moving and at rest, they become inflamed, their mobility decreases. These phenomena especially often develop in cold weather. Most sufferers with similar symptoms attribute them to manifestations of rheumatism. However, is this really the case?

What is rheumatism

A brief description of this phenomenon is difficult to give. First, we define the term "rheumatism". This word comes from the ancient Greek word “revma” - flow, flow. This fact is connected with the fact that the disease is characterized by rapid development and wide distribution throughout the body. It affects many organs and tissues.

The causes of rheumatism have long been a mystery to doctors. However, recently a theory about the autoimmune nature of rheumatism has been widely developed.

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In most cases, the main cause of rheumatism is infection of the body with a special type of microorganism - beta-hemolytic streptococcus. It can cause a person to develop typical acute respiratory infections and colds.

If the therapy of these diseases is not adequately carried out, and the microorganism is not destroyed as a result of treatment with antibiotics, then as a result it remains in the body for a long time. The immune system, in turn, also fights the microorganism. To do this, it produces special antibodies that react to proteins that make up streptococcus. However, these proteins are also part of many cells of the human body. As a result, immunity, by mistake, begins to attack the tissues of its own organism, first of all, connective. Primarily in the development of rheumatic heart disease. You should also consider the cardiotoxic effect of some strains of streptococcus.

But connective tissue is part of many organs, not only the heart. So it turns out that rheumatism literally spreads through the body, striking seemingly completely unrelated organs. Sometimes, however, it happens that the symptoms of rheumatism relate to only one organ or system of the body, while the rest of the organs or parts of the body are affected to a lesser extent and outwardly rheumatism does not manifest itself in them.

In addition to infectious attacks, a number of factors affect the likelihood of developing rheumatism:

  • genetic predisposition
  • malnutrition,
  • hypothermia
  • overwork,
  • low immunity.

There is one misconception about rheumatism - that this disease manifests itself only in adulthood, mainly in the elderly. Therefore, many people who have found problems with the musculoskeletal system, believe that they have become victims of rheumatism. However, at present, only children of 7–15 years old are suffering from rheumatism, or rather old people. And in fact, and in another case, the cause of the development of the disease is weak immunity, and its inability to resist streptococcal infection. Among children, the disease develops more often in girls than in boys. However, it often happens that the disease in childhood is not cured properly, and after many years, after some negative factors, it develops again.


Diagnosing rheumatism is not an easy task, because the disease has many symptoms and affects various organs, so it can sometimes be difficult to recognize rheumatism. In addition, there are many pathologies that have symptoms similar to rheumatism, but rheumatism is not in its etiology. Therapy for such diseases is also different from the therapy used for rheumatism. The primary diagnostic features include:

  1. subcutaneous nodules,
  2. regional erythema,
  3. polyarthritis,
  4. chorea,
  5. carditis.

Secondary clinical signs:

  • joint pain,
  • temperature rise,
  • increased sweating
  • heart palpitations
  • nosebleeds,
  • stomach ache,
  • pallor of face
  • weakness,
  • emotional imbalance.

Diagnosis of rheumatism uses the following methods:

  1. blood test,
  2. Analysis of urine,
  3. Ultrasound,
  4. ECG,
  5. blood pressure measurement
  6. chest X-ray.

Rheumatism treatment

Rheumatism is a serious disease, and it cannot go away by itself. Lack of therapy can lead to the fact that the pathology will develop, become chronic, and the patient will become disabled. In order to prevent the development of the disease, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

Treatment of rheumatism includes various methods aimed at relieving pain and inflammation:

  • medication,
  • traditional methods of treatment
  • physiotherapy.

Also during therapy can be used painkillers, sedatives, potassium drugs, neutralizing the negative effects of glucocorticosteroids. The duration of drug treatment is determined by the doctor, but usually it is at least 15 days.

Pathology interventions have three main phases:

  • treatment of the acute period of the disease,
  • therapy of the disease in the subacute period,
  • prevention of recurrent signs of rheumatism.

Also of great importance are diet, exercise of moderate intensity, lifestyle changes.

The active phase of rheumatism is preferably treated in the hospital. If the doctor considers that treatment is possible and at home, then the patient must be kept in bed for at least 10 days. At the same time physical loads are limited. With the right tactics to combat pathology, it is possible to prevent its transition to the chronic stage.

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The most commonly used physiotherapeutic procedures for rheumatism are UHF and electrophoresis. Also benefits from limb massage.

Traditional methods of treatment

Traditional medicine is one of the effective ways to treat rheumatism. And it is not surprising, because in earlier times, before the invention of antibiotics, the disease of rheumatism was more widespread than it is now. However, therapy with similar methods is best done after consulting with a doctor, because in some situations they can be harmful. Below is a short list of recipes that are well proven in the treatment of pathology.

Propolis ointment

This is a local remedy that needs to lubricate the affected joints. For its preparation it is necessary to take petroleum jelly and propolis. The components are mixed in a ratio of 10: 1. The mixture must be carefully drained. The ointment is rubbed into the affected area twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.

Elm bark tincture

To prepare this recipe, you need to take 20 g of elm bark, pour it with a glass of boiling water. Then boil for 10 minutes on low heat. The resulting decoction is infused for 3 hours. Medication is taken 4 times a day in a tablespoon.

Dandelion juice

To prepare the medication, two dandelion flowers are taken. After adding 2 tablespoons of sugar, the mixture is left for 7-10 days in a cool place. After that, the juice is squeezed out of the mixture, which must be taken 20 drops 3 times a day.

Other methods

The original folk method against rheumatism is the attachment of birch leaves to the limbs. You can do the following: leaves are packed with pants and tied at the bottom so that the leaves do not fall out. You can put the leaves inside the sleeves of clothing, then the healing effect will be directed to the hands. Dry or fresh leaves are suitable for use. Wear similar clothes for several hours. After the leaves are wet with sweat, they are replaced with new ones. This procedure can be done during sleep.

It also benefits from rheumatism such a simple remedy, like green tea. It is necessary to drink it 3 times a day, 200 g and preferably without sugar.

Diet for chronic rheumatism

The diet consists, first of all, in the exclusion from the menu of salty, spicy and spicy dishes that can cause exacerbations of the state. At the same time, the number of proteins, vegetables and fruits is increasing. It is necessary to include in the diet foods containing omega-3 fatty acids - olive and linseed oil, or to drink omega-3 preparations. Meat and fish is best consumed in boiled form. Also decreases the amount of carbohydrates consumed. It is not recommended to eat dishes from mushrooms, legumes, spinach and sorrel.

A strict diet is required in the period of acute illness. If you are relieved, then the diet is recommended to adhere to at least another week. In the future, the image of food should generally comply with the above recommendations, however, periodic indulgences are possible.

Rheumatism classification

Manifestations of rheumatism can affect many organs. Here are the main targets of rheumatism:

  1. joints
  2. a heart,
  3. nervous system,
  4. muscle.

Usually rheumatism is associated in everyday consciousness with diseases of the musculoskeletal system, that is, with a lesion of the joints, expressed in inflammation and pain syndrome. Indeed, this form of the disease exists. It is called rheumatic fever. But in fact, rheumatic fever is relatively rare in adults. The most common cause of pain, inflammation and poor mobility of the joints are diseases that have a completely different etiology.

For the most part with the disease suffer the largest and most loaded joints - ankle, knee, shoulder, hip and elbow. Small joints may also be affected, for example, in the fingers or toes. In most cases, rheumatism does not affect the internal tissues of the joint, but only its synovial membrane. Sometimes the pathology can affect the spine and jaw bones.

But it’s not for nothing that doctors have the expression: “Rheumatism licks the joints, but bites the heart.” And indeed, the main blow of rheumatism is directed just at the motor of a person - his heart. The form of the disease affecting the heart is the most dangerous. With rheumatic heart disease, inflammation of the heart muscle, the myocardium, and the tissues lining the inner surface of the valves, the endocardium, occurs. Sometimes the surrounding heart is also affected by connective tissue - the pericardium. All these processes are manifested in the form of heart pain, shortness of breath, edema, and heart rhythm disturbances. As the disease progresses, it can cause heart defects, especially valve insufficiency. Approximately 80% of acquired heart disease occurs in humans as a result of rheumatic attacks.

However, the most pronounced is still the articular form (polyarthritis). On her background, symptoms associated with the heart are usually not so noticeable. It is for this reason that the disease is most often associated with diseases of the joints.

And finally, pathology can affect the nervous system. This form is called rheumorrhea. With rheumatic fever, there is a varied violation of the nervous functions, a syndrome arises associated with spontaneous movements, various movement disorders, mental abnormalities - insomnia, tearfulness, irritability.

Muscular rheumatism: symptoms and treatment

Sometimes in everyday life you can hear about "muscle rheumatism." However, this term can not be called true, as the muscles themselves with rheumatism do not suffer. However, if the joints are affected, this phenomenon may be accompanied by severe pain in the surrounding muscles (myalgia). Treatment of this syndrome usually involves taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Both local forms of preparations (ointments and creams) and tablet forms are used.

Signs of rheumatism in adults

What are the distinctive characteristics of rheumatism, by which it can be separated from other diseases? As noted above, pathology affects many organs and organ systems. And the presence of pain in the joints, their inflammation and restriction of mobility is not a decisive symptom by which the presence of the disease is diagnosed. The diagnosis in this case should be made by an experienced rheumatologist. Methods such as ECG, blood test for specific antibodies to streptococcus, complete blood count, ultrasound of the heart and MRI are used for diagnosis. Assessment of the condition of the joints is carried out using X-ray, arthroscopy and biopsy.

Usually, an acute rheumatic attack (as the seizures of rheumatism are correctly called) develops approximately 1-3 weeks after streptococcal infection.

The main syndromes associated with rheumatism:

  • rheumatic heart disease
  • rheumatic polyarthritis,
  • skin disease,
  • revmopleuritis,
  • rheumatic fever.

Signs associated with impaired cardiac activity:

  • intoxication (weakness, fatigue, sweating, loss of appetite);
  • dyspnea;
  • pain in the heart (as a rule, not acute, but a pulling or aching nature);
  • arrhythmia, first of all, tachycardia;
  • temperature increase up to +38 ° С and higher;
  • blood pressure jumps, often hypotension;
  • an increase in the size of the heart;
  • ventricular heart failure;

When listening to the chest, there are changes in heart tones.

In rheumatic polyarthritis, large joints are mainly affected - knee, elbow, ankle. The disease is characterized by a benign course, after treatment there is no organ deformity. In addition, a symmetrical lesion is usually observed - on the right and left side. Sometimes with the disease there is the following phenomenon - the disappearance of symptoms on the one hand and their appearance on the other. However, this phenomenon may occur not immediately, but after some time, for example, after 1-2 weeks. This feature most likely indicates exactly rheumatism, and not about any other disease of the musculoskeletal system.

Signs associated with the defeat of the musculoskeletal system:

  1. the pains
  2. redness,
  3. reduced mobility
  4. inflammation,
  5. swelling,
  6. hot skin in the inflammatory process,

Also not excluded systemic reactions:

  • temperature increase up to + 38-39 ° С,
  • sweating
  • general weakness
  • nasal bleeding.

In some cases, the joints during an illness may not hurt, and the body temperature may remain at + 37 ° C.

Pain can be intense. If the shoulder is affected, then because of the pain, sometimes you cannot raise your hand. And if the ailment attacked the legs, then the pain can be so severe that the patient cannot walk.

The disease in the form of damage to the nervous system is rarely found in people in adulthood, mainly it is a children's pathology. For rheumatic fever are characterized by:

  • motor restlessness, increased motor activity;
  • grimacing;
  • lack of coordination of movements;
  • muscle weakness;
  • disorders of swallowing, physiological items;
  • emotional instability;
  • aggressiveness or passivity;
  • increased fatigue.

The skin type of the disease manifests itself in the following forms:

  1. ring erythema,
  2. erythema nodosum,
  3. minor hemorrhages
  4. nodules.

Ring erythema is a rash in the form of painless pale pink ring rims. Erythema nodosum - seals dark red color mainly on the lower extremities. Nodules are dense inactive painless education.

Also for patients with a skin variety, pallor and excessive sweating may be characteristic.

Revmopleuritis occurs when the immune cells attack the tissues of the pleura - the lining of the heart. For rheumopleuritis characteristic:

  1. pain in the chest when breathing, most strongly felt when inhaling;
  2. temperature rise;
  3. unproductive cough;
  4. dyspnea.

It is possible and the development of damage to other organs (peritoneum, liver, kidney). However, this happens, as a rule, much less often. With rheumatic peritonitis, acute abdominal pain is possible, with kidney damage - protein and blood in the urine, nephritis.

What deviations from normal indicators of blood tests indicate an acute period of the disease:

  • moderate leukocytosis;
  • increase in ESR, up to 50-70 mm / h;
  • dysproteinemia;
  • an increase in fibrinogen content to 0.6–1% (a norm of 0.4%).

With the acute development of pathology on the ECG, conduction disturbances and atrioventricular atrioventricular block of 1–2 degrees are noted, extrasystoles are other deviations from the sinus rhythm.

The duration of the pathological process is usually 3-6 months. There are three degrees of its activity:

  1. active,
  2. subacute
  3. latent.

The onset of the disease is usually easy to cure. However, pathology tends to recur and become chronic. Relapses of the disease develop due to infections, hypothermia, excessive loads. It is noticed that most often attacks occur in the cold season. When relapses are most pronounced damage to the heart, and the unpleasant effects associated with other organs, usually expressed weaker.

As you know, most diseases are easier to prevent than to fight them, and this also applies to rheumatism. Reduce the likelihood of developing the disease:

  • hardening,
  • improving working conditions
  • improvement of living conditions
  • fight against streptococcal infection.

Rheumatic diseases

The competence of the rheumatologist is the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Their early detection allows you to get the best result during treatment. Let the Orton specialists help you.

Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew's disease), psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome), gout, rheumatic polymyalgia, systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjogren's syndrome, as well as other more rare rheumatic diseases belong to the group of inflammatory rheumatic diseases.

The pediatric rheumatologist, in turn, deals with children's inflammatory rheumatic diseases and various protracted pain syndromes in children. In our time, early detection of inflammatory rheumatic diseases in children also allows you to get good results of treatment.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common rheumatic disease. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still not known. In women, rheumatoid arthritis is more common than in men, and it can take both the form of a lung and a rapidly progressive disease. Patients often have symmetric inflammation of the joints, and symptoms usually begin with small and medium-sized joints. When treating rheumatoid arthritis, the most important thing is the early diagnosis and an effective start to therapy. If you start taking drugs at an early stage of development of rheumatoid arthritis, the drugs will work better, and their tolerance by the body will be higher.

Ankylosing spondyloarthritis (Ankylosing spondylitis)

If a young man suffers from various painful symptoms in the back, he may have ankylosing spondylitis. The most typical symptoms of this disease are persistent stiffness in the morning for a long time, as well as back pain. Changes characteristic of ankylosing spondylitis develop quite slowly. The diagnosis is often confirmed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the back. Treatment and rehabilitation can be started early in the development of the disease.

Gout, rheumatic polymyalgia and rheumatic diseases of connective tissue

Gout is no longer a rare joint disease. Due to repeated attacks of gout over the years, the disease can turn into severe chronic joint disease. Recently, new drugs for the treatment of gout have appeared. Rheumatic polymyalgia (muscular rheumatism) is a serious inflammatory rheumatic disease. At the initial stage, the disease is accompanied by pain and stiffness in the shoulders and hip area. Most often, muscular rheumatism occurs in older people. The main role in the treatment of the disease is cortisone. The cause of pain in the joints of unknown origin, especially in young women, may be systemic lupus erythematosus or other rheumatic disease of the connective tissue. A distinctive symptom of Sjogren syndrome, for example, is dry eye and mouth. In addition, other rarer rheumatic diseases can be the cause of painful conditions of the joints.

Rheumatism treatment

At the Orton Clinic you will receive a competent treatment for rheumatic disease. The treatment program includes:

  • Medical examination by a specialist
  • Lab tests
  • X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging as prescribed by a doctor
  • Ultrasound examination of joints and intra-articular injections
  • Start of treatment with antirheumatic drugs and instructing of a specialized nurse
  • Rehabilitation procedures as prescribed by the doctor
  • Collection and storage of patient information, monitoring of the patient's condition.

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