Injury and illness involving bones and joints, muscles and nerves is very common. 

arthritis is joint pain and swelling 

rheumatism is pain in and around muscles, tendons and ligaments 

These terms are widely used and are often confused and confusing because problems affecting bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons commonly occur together.  

Much musculo-skeletal pain is self-limiting or of nuisance value - such as the strained muscle or the sprained ligament – but arthritis and rheumatism can have many causes – and some are more serious than others. 

  • Much follows on from mechanical damage associated with overuse or unusual stressing of spine, limbs, bones, joints and muscles. 
  • Some is associated with other patterns of illness such as: – infections, nerve disorders, gland problems and drug toxicity. 
  • Some is due to excessive levels of calcium and gouty crystals in the body and their deposition within joints. 
  • And there are less common, but serious disorders where genetic factors and faulty immune systems can lead to debilitating patterns of illness.   

Disorders of particular interest to clinicians and scientists working with and supported by the Trust include: 

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Behcet’s Disease
  • Giant Cell Arteritis
  • Gout
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica
  • Polymyositis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis  
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Systemic Sclerosis [scleroderma]

Further information can be sourced at www.rheumatology.org.uk 

Individual advice and guidance is best provided by a specialist rheumatologist following on from evaluation of medical records, clinical examination and any relevant laboratory and radiological data. 


Did you know

Around 10 million people in the UK have a form of arthritis, of which almost
700,000 have rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatic condition.