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:
-Juvenille idiopathic arthrtitis
-Giant cell/temporal arteritis
Signs that a condition might be rheumatic in nature include:
-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:
-Enthesitis (pain at the tendon attachments)
-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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