Could my pain be rheumatic?

Rheumatological conditions are problems based around systemic inflammation, rather than being associated with a specific injury or overuse. Because they may behave similarly to regular orthopedic conditions, they may be misdiagnosed.

-Examples of Rheumatoid conditions include:
-Ankylosing spondylitis
-Psoriatic arthropathy
-Enteropathic spondylitis
-Juvenille idiopathic arthrtitis
-Crystal arthropathy
-Septic arthritis
-Giant cell/temporal arteritis

Signs that a condition might be rheumatic in nature include:
-Night pain
-Stiffness that lasts more than 30min after being still
-Stiffness that lasts more than 60min after waking

Rheumatic conditions are strongly associated with other medical -issues, as well as family history, which may aid in diagnosis:
-Eye pain/dryness
-Skin issues
-Nail problems
-Enthesitis (pain at the tendon attachments)
-Stomach complaints
-Dactylitis (swelling of the fingers)

Treatment for these conditions includes a combination of medical management with specific drugs, as well as physiotherapy intervention. Management under a rheumatologist is of paramount importance.

High intensity exercise is a critical part of maintaining function, as are lifestyle interventions such as positioning of painful joints, cessation of smoking, optimising sleep and general wellness and controlling stress.

If you have a family history of rheumatological conditions, any of the symptoms mentioned above or any of the associated conditions, then discuss with your physiotherapist whether you should be referred to a rheumatologist.

The sooner the conditions are diagnosed and managed the better.
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