Here is a post to clarify the meaning of various terms used in Rheumatology. I keep getting asked, these question in my daily practice so here it is once again.

What is Arthritis?

When there is an inflammation of inner structures of joints especially of the synovial membrane which lines the joint cavity, it is called arthritis and this is usually associated with joint swelling and pain during all the joint movements.

What is Rheumatism?

Rheumatism is a layman’s term. This term is used by non-medical people. It is used for general aches and pains which usually shifts from one region of the body to another within a span of few hours to few days. General public also call it as “Bai”. It is a nonspecific term and may include all the causes of musculoskeletal pains. In this context, there are more than 100 causes of rheumatism including arthritis. If some doctor/ medical professional tells you that you are suffering with Rheumatism, please walk out the door at that instance as he/she does not have any knowledge about it.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia as name suggests, it is ‘algia’ meaning ‘pains’. ‘Fibro’ means fibrous tissue which means, the part of the muscle that attached it to the bone. So fibromyalgia means pain arising out of the fibromuscular tissues. Patients usually complain of pain around these structures. Often, there are tender spots that become painful on pressure and on usage. This causes a lot of nuisance to the patients. It can range from slight pain to severe pain making the patient, sometimes, bedridden. Risk factors for fibromyalgia are obesity, diabetes and hypermobility of the joints.