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Soft Tissue Rheumatism

Soft Tissue Rheumatism

Rheumatism and arthritis are both medical terms associated with joint problems. Soft tissue rheumatism is not just arthritis. There are many other symptoms that are included in it.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018
Rheumatism is a term used to describe a medical problem that affects the joints and connective tissues. The term is colloquial, but it is no longer used in medical literature. An alternative term used in some countries is fibromyalgia syndrome. Normally, when one talks about rheumatism, the concentration is on its arthritic aspect. However, soft tissue rheumatism (also known as non-articular rheumatism or regional pain syndrome) is often known to cause significant discomfort and difficulty. In this condition, all the parts around the joint that ache are included―the tendons, ligaments, muscles, fascia, as well as the joint capsules. Bursitis and tendinitis, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia are also its various forms.
Types and Associated Symptoms
Bursitis and Tendinitis
  • It is also called localized soft tissue rheumatism. People who are affected by this often complain by saying, 'my shoulder hurts', 'my elbow hurts', or 'my back hurts', etc.
  • The pain occurs in the shoulders, elbow, back, heel, etc., and is a symptom of bursitis and tendinitis.
  • Trigger finger and hip pain are also indicators of this type of rheumatism.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Myofascial pain syndrome exhibits regional distribution of pain, which is reproduced by pressure on a trigger point.
  • Trigger point is an area within the belly of a muscle, which is tender.
  • Pressure on the trigger point leads to pain and/or tingling in a characteristic distribution.
  • The muscle where the trigger point is located often has a spasm or is shortened.
  • If the muscle is stretched or contracted, it leads to pain in and around the muscle area.
  • The muscle is taut in the area of the trigger point, which leads to pain.
  • In such cases, an injection may be given to the muscle, where the trigger point is located to get rid of local as well as referred pain.

Fibromyalgia
  • There is widespread ache and pain in all four quadrants of the body, where the waist and spine serve as the points of reference.
  • The pain experienced often becomes chronic. It includes generalized aches, or even stiffness in some cases.
  • There are about eleven or more identified tender points, which cause this pain.
  • These points often tend to be symmetric and bilateral in fibromyalgia.
  • The other symptoms that also point to this type of rheumatism are disturbed sleep, generalized fatigue, subjective swelling, or even numbness, pain in neck, chronic headache, irritable bowel syndrome, among others.

Treatment
  • The treatment used for this disorder differs depending on the type of rheumatism.
  • Often, NSAIDs are prescribed to the patient.
  • In case of bursitis and tendinitis, icing the area twice or thrice a day and stretching are recommended.
  • Stretching helps to prevent recurrence.
  • On the other hand, in myofascial pain syndrome, NSAIDs are given.
  • Physical therapy along with massage therapy prove to be helpful.
  • To treat fibromyalgia, stretching and flexibility exercises are often prescribed. Yoga also proves to be beneficial.
  • Muscle massage and stretching along with physical therapy are helpful as well.

This is a very delicate condition. Hence, it is recommended that you do not diagnose your condition yourself, as some of the symptoms may be misleading as well.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.