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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:

-Ankylosing spondylitis

-Psoriatic arthropathy

-Enteropathic spondylitis

-Juvenille idiopathic arthrtitis

-Crystal arthropathy

-Septic arthritis

-Lupus

-Sjogrens

-Scleroderma

-Myositis

-Mixed/undifferentiated

-Hypermobility

-Vasculitis

-Giant cell/temporal arteritis

Signs:

-Night pain

-Swelling

-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

-Stomach complaints

-Swelling of the fingers

Treatment 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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