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Rheumatism

Read about rheumatism and diet and lifestyle tips for rheumatism symptoms

What is rheumatism?

Rheumatism is a general term used to describe pain and inflammation in joints, muscles and surrounding soft tissue.The word is no longer used by doctors but is still heard in conversation by the older generation – eg. ‘I’ve got a touch of rheumatism’.

However, symptoms we describe or recognise as rheumatism do not only affect older people. Rheumatism can be used to describe pain and inflammation associated with:

Symptoms to expect

The word ‘rheumatism’ is derived from the Greek word for ‘flow’ or ‘stream’. When first used, it referred to the symptom of ‘intense flowing pain’ affecting the joints, tendons, muscles and ligaments of the body.

Thankfully, most people suffering from rheumatism won’t experience symptoms in quite this way. Rheumatism no longer has a defined meaning, but is used to describe a collection of symptoms comprising joint pain with limitation of movement, as well as structural degeneration of elements of the musculoskeletal system.

There are about 100 disorders that fall under the heading of ‘rheumatism’ and they nearly all involve inflammation and therefore, pain features prominently as a symptom.

This pain usually affects joints – from the smallest joint in the foot to the larger joints in the hip and shoulders. Sometimes however, rheumatism symptoms affect only the muscles. In all cases, those suffering from rheumatism look for pain relief.

Diet and rheumatism symptoms

If you suffer from rheumatism, you will probably have looked around and found quite a lot of information on how using a more natural diet can help your condition.

However, the mere mention of a healthy diet can sometimes make even strong men shiver. But don’t click away yet - for rheumatism pains, just a few simple changes can make all the difference to your symptoms.

There is more than enough in a healthy larder to satisfy the heartiest appetite – it is just a matter of making different choices. Improved digestion and increased amounts of friendly bowel flora can reduce acidity and so help joint flexibility.

If you are experiencing rheumatism symptoms, you will benefit by eating:

More:
Oily fish such as herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna or use fish oil supplements.

Why:
These foods contain oils that have a positive effect on pain and inflammation in soft tissue.

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Sardines, green leafy vegetables, oats, dried fruits such as figs, pumpkin, kidney beans and sunflower seeds.

Why:
These foods are rich in magnesium helping ensure proper calcium absorption. Green vegetables also contain potassium which makes the body less acidic.

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Pineapple, papaya, mango, guava.

Why:
These foods contain digestive enzymes reducing acidity.

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Molkosan

Why:
This original Vogel superfood encourages a healthy digestive tract and supports your good bacteria. When good bacteria in your gut flourish, your digestion, immune system and many other parts of your body work better.

You may also want to follow the link to read about the polymyalgia diet.

Posture and rheumatism symptoms

For those with more long-standing problems with rheumatism, especially those suffering from muscle pains and low back pain, paying some attention to your posture may help your symptoms.

These tips are taken from ‘Life without Arthritis’ by Jan de Vries.

Correct body posture is important even when you are sitting down and can be a good natural remedy for your rheumatism symptoms. To ensure that good posture is maintained at all times, try the following advice:   

  • When driving, pull the seat forward and bend your knees. Ensure that the knees are higher than the hips. Sit up straight and place your hands high up on the steering wheel  
  • Make sure your bed has a good firm mattress 
  • Walking is excellent exercise, but make sure that your body is evenly balanced when walking  
  • When sitting at rest, position one foot higher than the other.    When bending to pick something up, always bend at the knees (rather than folding at the waist)  
  • When lifting, make sure that your back remains straight and always lift by bending the knees, keeping them together. Never lift more than you can comfortably manage 
  • Try to carry the same weight in each hand when shopping or travelling 
  • Massage, reflexology or aromatherapy can bring relief as can steam baths, saunas and jacuzzis