Rheumatic Conditions and Treatments
Rheumatic diseases are chronic diseases that affect the skin, bones, joint structures and muscles, usually causing inflammation and pain. Although rheumatic diseases take many forms, many have a common origin: the body's immune system mistakes its own cells for harmful foreign agents and attacks them.
To understand how inflammation and pain occur in a joint, it's important to understand how our joints and muscles work together to give us the ability to move - from picking up a pencil to dancing and from walking to nodding our heads. Every joint is made up of:
- Cartilage—a smooth, white, shock-absorbing layer that caps each bone to allow it to move smooth against the other bone or bones in the joint
- Synovial membrane—provides lubrication for the joint
- Ligaments—strong fibers that attach one bone to another, keeping the joint stable, supported and properly aligned
- Tendons—attach muscles to bones either above or below the joint
Some joints also have fluid-filled sacs (bursae) between the muscles, tendons and bones. Bursae are designed to reduce the friction that occurs when the bones, muscles and tendons move. Each bursa is lined with a synovial membrane, which releases lubricating fluid.
Cedars-Sinai's Rheumatology Services offers comprehensive treatments, including: