What is Rheumatism?

Rheumatism is an umbrella term used to describe any disorder that causes pain and/or inflammation in the joints, muscles, or connective tissue and can take multiple forms. This includes osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, scleroderma, polymyalgia rheumatica, ankylosing spondylitis, and gout. Those suffering from rheumatic disorder may experience joint pain, stiffness, and even deformity.

Signs & Symptoms of Rheumatism

Rheumatism can manifest in different ways depending on the specific condition. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain or discomfort in affected joints
  • Stiffness in affected joints, especially in the morning
  • Swollen, reddened, or excessively warm joints
  • Decreased range of motion or mobility in affected joints
  • Difficulty walking, talking, or carrying out everyday activities
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Hair loss

Treatment of Rheumatism

Treatment of rheumatism is tailored to the individual and is dependent on the severity of the condition. Generally, treatment may include:

  • Medication to reduce pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy or exercises to maintain mobility and strength
  • Heat or cold therapy to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Splinting to provide extra support or stability
  • Surgery to repair or replace damaged joints

Living with Rheumatism

Living with a rheumatic disorder can be challenging, but there are ways to cope. Here are some tips for managing rheumatism:

  • Get regular exercise to maintain strength and flexibility in joints
  • Use heat or cold to manage pain and swelling
  • Talk to a physical or occupational therapist about assistive devices and techniques that can make everyday tasks easier
  • Set realistic goals and prioritize tasks to avoid overexertion
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet to maintain strength and energy levels
  • Use relaxation techniques to manage stress and emotional wellbeing


Rheumatism is a broad term used to describe any disorder that causes pain and/or inflammation in the joints, muscles, or connective tissue. Symptoms and treatments are diverse and vary depending on the individual. With proper medical attention and lifestyle management, those living with rheumatic disorders can remain active and remain in control of their symptoms.