Symptoms rheumatism

Symptoms of rheumatism primarily include pain or stiffness in certain muscles and / or joints. Joints can also be swollen with rheumatism. What is rheumatism? How do you recognize the symptoms of rheumatism? Is rheumatoid arthritis preventable?

What is rheumatism?

Rheumatism is a term used for many disorders of the joints, muscles, tendons, mucous follicles, bone and joint capsules. In short, rheumatism a collective name for all musculoskeletal disorders. Most types of rheumatism can be defined as chronic and are therefore incurable. When you don't do anything about it, the symptoms will only get worse. With the right treatment symptoms can be reduced and therefore the particular disorder could subside in such a way that the pain becomes bearable, or in any case is manageable. Chronic pain knows its good and bad times and will sometimes be worse and sometimes it will be less bad.

Symptoms of rheumatism

The most important symptoms of rheumatism are pain or stiffness in muscles and / or joints or swollen muscles. Also redness and tingling around the joints may occur. If the rheumatism is caused by a virus or an infection, then fever, weight loss, but also fatigue are symptoms of rheumatism. Usually rheumatism begins localized in the body. The pain is local, and is is located on a small part of the body. The symptoms of rheumatism then spread through the body and the pain increases. Usually symptoms of rheumatism take place symmetrically. Someone who suffers from rheumatism in one hand has it not just in one hand, but in both hands.

Types of rheumatism

There are many types of rheumatism. The better-known types of rheumatism are osteoarthritis, juvenile rheumatism, arthritis and acute rheumatism. We also know of soft tissue rheumatism also known as Fibromyalgia and inflammation rheumatism. Although the types are different, the main symptoms of rheumatism are applicable to all types of rheumatism.

Soft tissue rheumatism or fibromyalgia

Rheumatism in the tendons, muscles, ligaments and bursa in the joint capsule surrounding a joint is also called soft tissue rheumatism or fibromyalgia.

We call this the soft tissue. If one experiences pain in this, it could be that the person has soft tissue rheumatism. Pain on the soft tissue can be caused by inflammation in this, for example a bursitis or tendonitis.


Arthrosis is also called wear and tear on the joint. With Arthrosis, there is damage to the cartilage, causing the bones to rub against each other. This causes pain and stiffness, making movements difficult.

Inflammatory Rheumatism

With Inflammatory Rheumatism, there is joint mucosal inflammation, which more synovial fluid is produced than needed. The joint swells up and causes pain and stiffness. The most common inflammatory rheumatism's are rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the immune system can no longer make a distinction between good and bad organisms and therefore will attack its own tissue.

Diagnosis of rheumatism

When recognize the symptoms of rheumatism in yourself it is wise to ask your doctor or hospital for a diagnosis of rheumatism. There are several tests that the doctor can conduct.

Physical examination

Here they will look if the joints function properly and whether there are any restrictions in the movement and functioning of the joints.

Blood test

Blood tests can also be conducted when examining rheumatism. There may be so called rheumatism factors in the blood, that point to rheumatism.


Also X-rays can help diagnose rheumatism. For example there is sometimes a deterioration of joints visible on x-rays. Bones and cartilage can be viewed with x-rays.

Causes of rheumatism

Rheumatism is caused by a combination of several factors. Rheumatism is caused by genetics, a disturbed immune system, stress, (over) load of the body, and bacteria and viruses.


Genetics can be a cause for the development of rheumatism. Inheritance is however not the only cause of rheumatism. There are other factors needed to eventually develop rheumatism besides inheritance.

Disrupted immune system

If the immune system is disturbed it can lead to rheumatism. The immune system is in fact responsible for the removal of (harmful) substances whom are not desirable in the body. In some cases, the immune system does not work well and turns against the body. This can lead to auto-immune diseases, but also to rheumatism. The immune system could turn against its own body, create inflammation in the joints and therefore rheumatism. Aside from causing rheumatism, the immune system could make the situation worse. The immune system could attack the inflammation with harmful substances which aggravates the rheumatism even more.


Stress can worsen the development of the rheumatism disease. Stress often puts you in the wrong pose, which is not good if you already suffer from rheumatism and only worsens the rheumatism.

(Over)loading the body

Physical overload can also cause rheumatism. Make sure you don't put pressure on your body the wrong way, so that you will prevent rheumatism as much as possible. Obesity has also a negative influence on rheumatism.

Bacteria and viruses

Bacteria and viruses can also cause types of rheumatism, such as an acute rheumatism.

Treating rheumatism

The treatment of rheumatism strongly depends on the type of rheumatism. The different types require different treatments. Rest is important in treating rheumatism. 

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