Synonyms: Rheumatic disease

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Rheumatism is defined as the pain and stiffness of soft tissues in and around the joints. It refers to more than 100 collective conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system (which consists of the joints, muscles, bones and tendons). Among the most common rheumatic conditions are osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and scleroderma.

In Our Own Words

Rheumatism collectively consists of a wide variety of 100 distinct diseases. Rheumatism targets the connective tissues, tendons, bones or joints of the musculoskeletal system, and they are chronic conditions such as gout, lupus and fibromyalgia.

Many rheumatic diseases are marked by inflammation with redness, pain and swelling. Some patients may have more than one rheumatic disease at the same time, and daily functional activities are deeply affected.  

Relevant Conditions
Side Effects
  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling around the joints
Share this article
  • Harvard Medical School. "Medical Dictionary of Health Terms." 2013. http://www.health.harvard.edu. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • American College of Rheumatology. "Living Well with a Rheumatic Disease." Diseases and Conditions. Feb. 2012. http://www.rheumatology.org. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Arthritis." Chronic Disease Resources. July 2013. http://www.cdc.gov. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Lee, H, Song, I, et al. “Cutaneous side effects in patients with rheumatic diseases during application of tumor necrosis factor-alpha antagonists.” Department of Dermatology and Allergy. Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany. March 2007; 156 (3): pages 486-91. Accessed Sept. 2013.
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