A rheumatic disease is one that affects the joints and connective tissues. The term rheumatic comes from the Greek root “rheuma,” which implies “related to the joint.” Rheumatic diseases are the most common causes of reduced mobility and it is estimated that they effect ~ 46 million people in the United States.
Rheumatic diseases wind up involving the joints and many involve the spine. They range from degenerative arthritis, infection, crystal diseases, such as gout, or autoimmune disorders where the body’s own immune system attacks the joints and other tissues.
Rheumatic diseases affecting the spine:
Ankylosing Spondylitis- is the most common of the spondyloarthropies, rheumatic diseases that specifically affect the spine. Ankylosing spondylitis, most common in young adults, also inflames tendons in the hips, knees, and shoulders, causing pain and stiffness.
Psoriatic Arthritis - is a form of arthritis that occurs in people with the skin disorder psoriasis. This painful disease affects joints of fingers and toes and creates visible changes in finger- and toenails.
Reactive Arthritis- Also known as Reiter’s syndrome is often triggered by an infection in the bowels, urinary tract, or other organs. People with reactive arthritis may also also develop skin rashes, sores on the mouth, and eye problems
Rheumatoid Arthritis destroys the synovial tissue lining the joints causing swelling, pain, and stiffness throughout the body. Women are two to three times more likely than men to have RA.