Perhimpunan Reumatologi Indonesia
Indonesian Rheumatology Association

Myths and Facts About Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic disease is a disease that attacks the joints and surrounding tissue, can affect anyone, male or female, the elderly or children. This disease has been around for a long time, and has even been known for thousands of years. Unfortunately, many things associated with this rheumatic disease are not necessarily true (myths) but are believed in our society. Knowledge of the facts (facts) regarding rheumatic disease is important and can help find appropriate therapy and solutions for sufferers so that disabilities that often occur in rheumatic diseases can be prevented and the sufferer’s quality of life can be equal to that of healthy people.

One of the most widely believed myths about bathing at night or eating green vegetables can cause joint pain, what is the reality? Please refer to the atrikel below.

Myth: Rheumatic disease is caused by frequent bathing at night or being in an air-conditioned room / cold weather
Fact: Research getting a night shower or cold weather does not cause rheumatic disease. However, in certain rheumatism sufferers, the cold factor can exacerbate complaints so that when exposed to cold, pain feels in the joints, this can be explained by changes in atmospheric pressure increasing the pressure in the joint space, cold temperatures cause disruption of synovium flow and stimulate nerve nociceptors around them. joints that cause arthritis to become painful and / or stiff.

Myth: Joint pain is caused by increased uric acid
Fact: Joint disease due to increased uric acid (Gout / Gout) is only one of more than 100 types of rheumatic diseases. So not all joint pain is a result of increased uric acid. Conversely, patients with joint pain with uric acid levels in the blood that are more than normal do not necessarily suffer from gout, because it is important to check with a doctor what type of rheumatic disease they suffer.

Myth: Rheumatism can be caused by eating green vegetables and nuts
Fact: Green vegetables and nuts do not cause joint pain. The only rheumatic diseases associated with food (rheumatism, alcohol, shellfish, large amounts of red meat) are gout disease or gout (joint disease caused by gout).

Myth: Rheumatic disease is a hereditary disease
Fact: Rheumatic diseases are not directly passed on from parents to children, although in some types of rheumatic diseases there are genetic factors that influence the tendency of the offspring to suffer from the same disease.

Myth: Rheumatism is a disease of old people
Fact: Rheumatic disease is not dominated by old people, because children and even babies can get rheumatism. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can affect children. On the other hand, not all parents will suffer from rheumatism.

Myth: Rheumatic disease only affects the joints and bones
Fact: All the tissues around the joints can be affected by rheumatism, such as bones, muscles, tendons and others, besides that, other symptoms can also be obtained such as fever, tiredness, weakness etc.

Myth: Rheumatic disease only affects women
Fact: Not always women who experience this disease. Men have more frequent gouty arthritis, while women have more lupus, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Myth: Nothing can be done to prevent rheumatic disease
Fact: The causes of rheumatic disease are very varied, some of which are not even known, but many factors influence the onset of rheumatic disease and some of them can be prevented so that they do not cause joint pain or aggravate existing diseases, including: maintaining ideal body weight, exercising regular exercise, avoiding prolonged physical and psychological stress.

Myth: Rheumatic disease occurs due to frequent sounding of the joints
Fact: There is no evidence that frequent sounding of the joints in both the hands and feet can cause rheumatism.

Myth: Traditional medicine is safer and more effective in curing rheumatic diseases
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that traditional medicine (herbal medicines, magnetic bracelets, drinking urine, bee stings, eating tripang, etc.) can cure rheumatism. Some of them, such as certain herbs, are even very dangerous and can cause complications such as stomach bleeding in sufferers who consume them. Research is still being carried out on traditional medicines for the treatment of rheumatic diseases.

Myth: Reflexology can cure rheumatism
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that reflexology can cure various rheumatic diseases. This massage can be an alternative therapy to reduce muscle tension and stiff joints.

Myth: Warm compresses are better than cold compresses for all rheumatic ailments.
Fact: Depending on the rheumatoid disease suffered, if it is accompanied by signs of inflammation (redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth) then cold compresses reduce pain more, for example in acute attacks of joint pain due to gout. Meanwhile, in osteoarthritis and muscle tension, warm compresses can increase relaxation and reduce complaints.

Myth: Rheumatic sandals with protrusions to massage specific points on the soles of the feet can cure rheumatism.
Fact: There is no scientific evidence that the bumps on sandals worn for walking can cure rheumatic diseases, even in certain circumstances such as inflammation of the tissue in the soles of the feet (plantar fasciitis) which worsens the disease.

Myth: Injections into joints can harm the joints or cause bone loss
Fact: In certain circumstances injections into the joints are needed in the treatment of joint pain, if done correctly this therapy is very helpful for sufferers who experience inflammation of the joints. Injections into joints do not cause bone loss, and should be performed by a doctor who is an expert in their field. If not done properly it can increase the risk of getting an infection within the joint (septic arthritis). If the injection uses a drug containing steroids should not be more than 3 times a year, so that it does not cause damage to the joints. Meanwhile, injections with hyaluronic fluid are in accordance with the rules for each type of drug.

Myth: Medicines for rheumatism should be stopped immediately if the pain is gone or reduced because rheumatic drugs are harmful to the kidneys.
Fact: Consultation with a doctor is very important regarding the use of rheumatic drugs. Some drugs must be continued for the long term even though the pain has disappeared. It is better not to take anti-pain medications yourself for this rheumatic problem, because each drug has its own properties and side effects, so it needs doctor’s supervision while using these drugs.

Myth: Rheumatic diseases are incurable and depend on medication for life
Fact: It is not always true that rheumatism is incurable. In some rheumatic diseases such as joint pain due to viruses, it can heal with the disappearance of the viral infection, however, there are some diseases that require long-term therapy and can be controlled with drugs so that the patient does not feel pain, prevents disability, and can carry out activities like other healthy people.

Myth: Rheumatic disease is not a serious disease, many over the counter drugs are used to treat this disease.
Fact: In fact, on the contrary, do not consider rheumatism a normal disease, because some of these diseases can cause disability, some even endanger life, and need proper handling.

Myth:? Pills? can cure rheumatic diseases
Fact: Isn’t it true that? Pills? can cure rheumatism, its nature is only to relieve pain temporarily. These drugs that are sold freely without the supervision of a doctor are very dangerous, some patients experience bleeding in the digestive tract after taking this drug, other patients experience kidney damage and even have to undergo dialysis medication due to these drugs.

Myth: If there is pain in the joint it must be moved otherwise it will become stiff or paralyzed
Fact: When there is severe pain the joint must be rested, and as soon as the joint is not painful again, exercise / training should be started. Consult with your doctor about what exercises or sports are suitable for the condition of the rheumatic disease you are experiencing.