Do you have recurrent episodes of swelling and pain in and around the joints? Do the flares come and go? These can be classic signs of palindromic rheumatism (PR).

During periods without any attacks, the joints may appear and feel normal. However, when pain and stiffness arise, it can become challenging to perform routine household tasks. It is essential to know that you are not alone in this, as PR usually affects individuals between 20 to 50 years of age. It has been observed that approximately 50% of those who develop PR eventually experience rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Here is what you can expect with a condition such as this one.

Palindromic Rheumatism – What Is It, Exactly?

Palindromic rheumatism (PR) is an autoimmune condition and a rare type of inflammatory arthritis (IA). This clinical syndrome can cause many, sudden, and recurrent attacks of joint swelling and pain. It usually affects the feet and hands.

An episode can last from a couple of hours to a few[1] days. Attacks vary from patient to patient. Sometimes people get one attack a year, while others struggle with attacks every week.

How Does Palindromic Rheumatism Feel Like?

Compared to other types of IA, people with PR often have no symptoms in between episodes.
During an episode, the following symptoms[2] can occur:

  • The affected tendons and joints can feel stiff, painful, swollen, and tender.
  • You can feel exhausted and sick.
  • The skin around the affected area might appear red.
  • A nodule can form beneath the skin.

The episode tends to start in one or two joints. But it can move from joint to joint. After some time, the discomfort subsides.

Since the attacks can be so painful and prolonged, many people feel drained after an episode. The fatigue can last for a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Rheumatoid nodules are more common in RA patients than in people with PR. But, in some cases[3], patients with palindromic rheumatism can develop a nodule that looks like the one seen in RA patients. Rheumatoid nodules in early stages often appear in the feet and hands.

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What Is the Cause of Palindromic Rheumatism?

The exact cause of PR is unknown. But, some risk factors can contribute to this clinical syndrome.

These include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Infection
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Age (patients between 20 and 50 years tend to develop it)
  • Trauma of the large joints
  • Recent surgery

According to recent studies[4], PR can run in the family. There is a genetic susceptibility to the condition.

When you have PR, you should also know what causes arthritis flare-ups. That’s because some common triggers for arthritis flare-ups might also apply to PR. Such as having high body weight. Obesity and overweight puts extra pressure on the joints, which can aggravate the symptoms.

What Could Trigger Palindromic Rheumatism?

PR is an overlap syndrome — a mix between autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases. But, what exactly triggers it remains a mystery.

Some medical professionals suggest that Palindromic Rheumatism (PR) is an early stage of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). However, not all PR patients develop RA.

Based on clinical data[5], PR goes into remission in around 15% of cases. Recurrent episodes without constant joint involvement persist in 40% to 50% of patients.

People with PR ask, “Is rheumatoid arthritis hereditary?” If someone in your family has RA, you may be at risk of developing it. According to research[6], over 30 genes have been linked with the disease. These genetic factors contribute to about 50% of the different genetic variations that can make a person susceptible to RA.

Trauma could potentially act as a trigger and cause an immune response that can lead to a PR attack. However, the impact and symptoms[7] can vary from person to person.

Sometimes, during a PR attack, you can develop a nodule. Rheumatoid nodules early stages can be a problem, especially if they put pressure on your nerves. One study[8] indicates that smoking cigarettes increases the risk of nodules in patients with RA.

There are many cases where PR patients think that a specific food can trigger their episodes like pre-packaged meals, processed foods, or refined carbs. If this is a problem for you, make some dietary changes or use a food diary to keep track of what you should or shouldn’t eat.

If you decide to cut out some foods from your diet, then don’t miss out on any key nutrients. Include plenty of vitamins and minerals in your meal plans.

How to Diagnose Palindromic Rheumatism

Palindromic rheumatism is not a common health problem. That is why a GP can easily confuse it with RA or gout.

To get a proper diagnosis, it’s best to see a rheumatologist[9]. Since a single test is not enough to see whether you have PR, your doctor can suggest a combination of tests. They can help get more accurate results.

This could include:

  • Physical exam (preferably during an attack)
  • A full checklist of your medical history
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • X-ray

How to Treat Palindromic Rheumatism

At the moment, there is no cure for PR. However, with the right treatment approach, you can curb the symptoms, and enjoy a better quality of life.
The options below can help.

Medications

Some of the medications[10] for treating RA can also help patients with PR.

  • NSAIDs – They are capable of blocking inflammation and reducing flare-ups. Even though these drugs provide relief, they are not a permanent solution. Some NSAIDs can be hard on the stomach. As a result, drugs like Omeprazole could be used as well.
  • Analgesics – Pain meds might not be enough to calm the inflammation, but they can be particularly useful in controlling the discomfort.
  • Steroids – When pain meds or NSAIDs are not enough, patients might turn to steroids. These medications can be an option for severe or prolonged symptoms. They can be taken orally or in the form of an injection.
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Self-Care

To take better control of your joint health, you need to know what causes arthritis flare-ups. Factors like obesity and unhealthy diets can play a role. Here is what you can do.

  • Be more active – When you are inactive, you can weaken the muscles and cause more harm to the joints. Rheumatism itself can affect your mobility. But, with exercise, you can boost blood flow and keep the joints in good shape.
  • Start stretching – Stretches have a lot to offer. They promote a range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength. This can ease the severity of flare-ups. But, before you incorporate any changes to your fitness routine, consult with a specialist. See which exercise or stretch is suitable for your joints.
  • Shed the extra pounds – Try to maintain a healthy body weight to curb the symptoms. Otherwise, you can put a lot of strain on your joints just by doing your normal routine.
  • Eat the right kind of food – A balanced and nutritious diet goes a long way. But some foods are better than others. Experts[11] suggest that options like raw potato juice, celery juice, gourd juice, and lemon juice can ease PR symptoms.

If you need an extra boost, then Flexoplex Joint and Bone Health Supplement can help. The formula can rebuild and repair your worn joints. It is a practical choice for adding more lubrication for easier movement.

With the Flexoplex, you can fight off inflammation and joint pain. You can feel the difference as the potent ingredients improve joint flexibility and overall mobility.

FAQ’s

Can palindromic arthritis go away?

The symptoms vary from patient to patient. Some patients notice that their symptoms completely go away between flare-ups. The attacks can last a couple of hours. For others, the attacks happen more often and last longer.

What is the cure for rheumatism?

PR can’t be cured. However, medications and self-care techniques can mitigate the symptoms. NSAIDs, Analgesics, or Steroids are a popular choice. But, with effective lifestyle changes, such as working out more and eating healthier, you can achieve notable relief.

What are the 5 worst arthritis foods?

If you don’t know what causes arthritis flare-ups, pay attention to the food you eat.

Your joints need the proper fuel to function. When you have arthritis, some foods can trigger inflammation and physical discomfort. So, you want to watch out for options like:

  • Red and processed meats
  • Foods packed with purines (i.e., preserved meats and organ meats)
  • Fried foods
  • Foods high in fat
  • Sugary treats

Studies[12] show that people who go overboard with processed foods and soft drinks can influence the onset of RA. These foods can trigger the release of proteins and cytokines, which in turn, can lead to inflammation.

Is rheumatic disease serious?

Rheumatic disease encompasses many conditions that can affect the connective tissues, bones, joints, and muscles. When the disease is chronic, it can lead to notable pains and aches that will affect your everyday life. But, with a suitable treatment, you can mitigate its impact.

Wrap Up

Life with PR can have its ups and downs. But, you can be in control. Work with your rheumatologist to create a strategy that can ease the flare-ups. They can suggest you try different solutions and self-care techniques.