Rheumatic diseases are inflammatory, autoimmune, and degenerative diseases that can affect the whole body. They are more than just aches and pains. They can affect all age groups and vary in severity. They often involve body-wide immune dysregulation and systemic inflammation, in addition to specific flares.
Did you know there are more than 100 rheumatic diseases? According to Healthline in the United States alone, around 54 million adults and 300,000 children in the United States have a doctor-diagnosed rheumatic disease.
Rheumatic diseases can cause inflammation, tissue degeneration, and autoimmune dysfunction. In autoimmune conditions, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
Genetic factors play a role in many rheumatic diseases, and having a family history of a condition often puts you at a higher risk. But other factors include age, sex, exposure to infections, and other underlying conditions.
Some of the most common rheumatic diseases that cause back pain are…
- Sjogren’s disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks internal organs. The condition can affect your entire body but often occurs in your lungs and in the glands that produce saliva and tears, causing dry mouth and dry eyes. Sjogren’s can also affect other parts of your body, including your joints, skin, and nerves. You may notice pain in your joints or muscles, dry skin, rashes, and neuropathy when this happens.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that targets your spine and can cause long-term stiffness and, in severe cases, immobility. AS is more common in women than men. Besides causing pain and stiffness in your lower back and pelvis, AS can also cause inflammation in other large joints such as your hips, shoulders, and ribs. A major indicator of involvement is inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. These join your pelvis to your lower spine.
- Gout happens when uric acid builds up in your body. If you have too much uric acid, it can form crystals in certain parts of your body, particularly your skin and joints. Uric acid buildup in gout can also contributeTrusted Source to systemic inflammation and metabolic syndrome. People with gout experience joint pain, redness, and swelling. It often affects the big toe but can impact other joints as well.
- Psoriatic arthritis can affect people who have psoriasis, an autoimmune condition affecting the skin. The condition often develops after several years of living with psoriasis. Doctors don’t know the causes of psoriatic arthritis. It can cause low back pain with or without the involvement of the sacroiliac joints.
- Reactive arthritis occurs when your body reacts to an infection elsewhere in your body. The condition often develops following infections with bacteria such as Salmonella, Chlamydia, or Campylobacter. This reaction causes joint inflammation, typically in the lower part of your body and your spine, with the involvement of the sacroiliac joints. You may notice swelling, redness, and pain in the affected joints. Other symptoms can include conjunctivitis and urinary tract inflammation.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory condition that leads to pain or stiffness in your shoulders, neck, and hips.Symptoms are often worse in the morning. You may also have flu-like symptoms, including fever and weakness. The cause of this condition is unknown.