Looking for rheumatic disease types, treatments, and associated rheumatology definitions? From abatacept to WOMAC, learn about common terms related to arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. Looking for information about MACRA? See MACRA terms and definitions.

Physical activity

Any body movement produced by muscles that results in energy expenditure.

Physical examination

Exam by means such as visual inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation to collect information for diagnosis.

Physical therapy

Profession concerned with promotion of health; with prevention of physical disabilities; with evaluation and rehabilitation of persons disabled by pain, disease, or injury; and with treatment by physical therapeutic measures as opposed to medical, surgical, or radiologic measures.

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Polyarteritis nodosa (PAN)

Segmental inflammation, with infiltration by eosinophils, and necrosis of medium-sized or small arteries. More common in males, with varied symptoms related to involvement of arteries in the kidneys, muscles, gastrointestinal tract, and heart.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)

Inflammatory rheumatic disease that causes muscle pain, joint stiffness, and limited range of motion usually in the neck, shoulders, upper arms, and hips. It may occur along with giant cell arteritis in some people. Usually occurs in older people. Symptoms may appear and worsen within two weeks. Patients with PMR may also have symptoms like mild fever, nausea, fatigue, or loss of appetite. Glucocorticoids are used to treat PMR inflammation, and physical therapy may also help improve range of motion.

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Positron emission tomography

Creation of tomographic images revealing certain biochemical properties of tissue by computer analysis of positrons emitted when radioactively tagged substances are incorporated into the tissue.

Primary care

Care of a patient by a member of the healthcare system who has initial contact with the patient.

Prognostic factors

A symptom on which a prognosis is based, or one indicative of the likely outcome.


Sense or perception, usually at a subconscious level, of the movements and position of the body and especially its limbs, independent of vision.


Glycoaminoflycans bound to protein chains in covalent complexes; these occur in the extracellular matrix of connective tissue.

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