If you have pain in your joints that is accompanied by other symptoms, like swelling and fatigue, or another type of musculoskeletal disorder, it can feel like a significant obstacle in your life. Fortunately, there are medical professionals who specialize in these types of conditions. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases, which affect the joints, bones, and muscles. Seeing a rheumatologist can help you get relief from pain and improve your quality of life. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the reasons why it’s important to see a rheumatologist.
8 Common Reasons to See a Rheumatologist
2. Autoimmune Diseases: Rheumatologists also treat autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, and vasculitis, which occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body. Left untreated, this can lead to pain, inflammation, and disability.
3. Chronic Pain: Rheumatologists can help manage chronic pain associated with conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and complex regional pain syndrome.
4. Osteoporosis: Rheumatologists can help diagnose and treat osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures.
5. Chronic Inflammatory Disease: Rheumatologists can diagnose and treat the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases. One such condition, for example, is ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown etiology characterized by prominent inflammation of the spinal joints and adjacent structures. If left untreated, this inflammation can lead to progressive fusion of the spine, chronic back pain, and disability.
6. Tendinitis and Bursitis: Rheumatologists can diagnose and treat tendinitis and bursitis, which are conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the tendons and bursae. These are structures that surround and provide support to the joints.
7. Back Pain: Rheumatologists can help diagnose and treat various causes of back pain, including spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease.
8. Sports Injuries: Rheumatologists can diagnose and treat sports injuries, such as strains, sprains, and fractures.
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, your primary care physician may refer you to a rheumatologist for specialized care.
How does a rheumatologist treat arthritis and other autoimmune conditions?
The treatment approach for arthritis and other autoimmune conditions depends on the specific condition and the severity of the symptoms. However, there are some general treatment options that rheumatologists may use:
1. Medications: Rheumatologists can prescribe medications to help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and slow down the progression of the disease. Examples of medications used for rheumatic conditions include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologic agents. Many of these medications reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system, making you more prone to infections.
2. Physical Therapy: Rheumatologists may refer patients to physical therapists who can teach them exercises to help improve joint mobility, flexibility, and strength.
3. Lifestyle Changes: Rheumatologists may advise patients to make certain lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and getting regular exercise, to help reduce symptoms and improve overall health.
4. Surgery: In some cases, rheumatologists may recommend evaluation by a surgeon to discuss repairing or replacing damaged joints. This may be necessary if conservative treatments are not effective.
5. Patient Education: Rheumatologists can educate patients about their condition, provide information about treatment options, and help them learn how to manage their symptoms and maintain a good quality of life.
It’s important to note that rheumatologists often work in conjunction with other specialists, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and orthopedic surgeons, to provide comprehensive care to patients with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.
Pacific Arthritis is a group of rheumatology experts in Los Angeles and Santa Monica who have undergone specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing immediate and long-lasting relief for your arthritis pain and symptoms. We offer online appointments for new and current patients available on your smartphone, computer, or tablet. If you or a loved one has been referred to a rheumatologist or is experiencing arthritis symptoms, call (310) 297-9221 to schedule an appointment.