What is rheumatism?

The term rheumatism is used in such a loose way that it is almost a useless term. Doctors rarely use the term in their communications with each other such is its lack of precise meaning. It broadly refers to a diverse group of conditions that affect the joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. These conditions can occur for a wide variety of reasons and the actual disease processes can be very different.

What does rheumatism mean?

Some lay people use the term rheumatism interchangeably with the term arthritis. Some doctors use the term to assign a label to unexplained joint pains. Occasionally it is used to describe mild forms of arthritis that have not progressed to the point of causing significant bone destruction. It is not a precise term and is probably best avoided.

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