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Soft tissue problems associated with rheumatic disease

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By Burckhardt CS, Jones KD, Clark SR • www.ProHealth.com • January 2, 1998


Source: Lippincotts Prim Care Pract 1998 Jan-Feb;2(1):20-9; quiz 301

Rheumatic disease and associated soft tissue problems encompass a
large number of syndromes and account for a high percentage of
visits to primary care practitioners. This article describes
the symptoms, causes, and treatments for five of the problems
most commonly encountered: bursitis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel
syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
Effective management requires a structured history, physical
examination, and definitive diagnosis that distinguishes the
soft tissue problem from a joint problem and an inflammatory
syndrome from a noninflammatory syndrome. The overriding
principle is self-management of treatments that focuses on
relief of pain, maintenance of function, and avoidance of
factors that cause recurrence or exacerbation of the problem.
Medications, physical therapies, biomechanical aids, and
exercise strategies, along with cognitive-behavioral
techniques for the more chronic problems, are all known to
decrease symptoms and to assist patients in returning to
normal functioning.




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