The presence of sore joints is often, in common parlance, associated with aging, humidity or pollution. Professor Carlo Selmi, Head of Clinical Rheumatology and Immunology at Humanitas, spoke about inflammatory pain and rheumatic diseases in an interview with Obiettivo Salute Weekend on Radio24.

“Rheumatic diseases are a big family, we can distinguish three categories: inflammatory diseases where inflammation causes pain; degenerative diseases, such as arthrosis, where first there is joint damage, then pain and possibly inflammation. The third, lesser-known category, is characterized by pain without inflammation or joint damage, as in the case of fibromyalgia.

Joint disease can affect both men and women, but it is much more common in women.


Inflammatory pain

“Inflammatory pain affects joints such as the hands, knees and spine at the lumbar level. In this case, for example, inflammatory pain differs from common back pain in that it worsens with rest and improves with movement; it peaks in the morning after you have been lying down for a long time, and the characteristic symptoms are pain and stiffness upon awakening.

Peripheral joints, such as small hand joints, are the most affected by rheumatoid arthritis, and upon awakening stiffness and pain prevent fine movements or good grip on objects. An example of this is the difficulty (or inability) to open a coffee maker to make coffee.

In the presence of alarming symptoms, it is advisable to undergo a rheumatologic examination”.


When arthrosis is the cause

“Most pains are caused by arthrosis and are therefore attributable to the consumption of joints linked to advancing age.

The spine, hip, knee and hand (the thumb above all) are the main sites of osteoarthritis, a disease that is very common in Italy. This disease is characterized by the consumption of cartilage that covers the bones that are touching, resulting in greater stiffness of the joint that hurts with load.

It should be noted that the most easily modifiable risk factor is weight: most of the joints affected are in fact those that carry the 15-20 kg of excess weight present in some people”.


Available treatments

“As far as arthrosis is concerned, we have therapies to control pain and regenerative therapies are promising, using locally potent cells to try to restore the lost cartilage film,” concluded Professor Selmi.