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Article
November 27, 1943

PSYCHOGENIC RHEUMATISM

Author Affiliations

MEDICAL CORPS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES; MEDICAL CORPS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES

From the Medical Service, Hoff General Hospital, Santa Barbara, Calif.

JAMA. 1943;123(13):805-809. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840480005002
Abstract

Psychogenic rheumatism was found to be the most frequent cause of disability in 450 consecutive cases diagnosed as arthritis or an allied organic condition previous to admission to the medical service of Hoff General Hospital.

By the term psychogenic rheumatism is meant those states in which symptoms such as pain, stiffness, subjective sense of swelling or limitation of motion in the muscles or joints are caused, intensified or perpetuated by mental influences. When disability results from such a state in the complete absence of structural joint or muscle abnormalities the condition is designated as "pure" psychogenic rheumatism. When incapacitating psychogenic symptoms are associated with nondisabling organic changes the psychogenic rheumatism is considered to be "superimposed."

We are aware of many of the dangers and pitfalls involved in explaining physical symptoms and more particularly physical signs on a psychogenic basis. Our experience with rheumatic patients in an army general hospital, however,

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