Specialists in rheumatology diagnose and treat more than 100 disorders that affect the joints, muscles and bones. Examples of these are:
- Rheumatic diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis)
- Back pain
Both children and adults can be affected by these disease processes. Common symptoms which may prompt a visit to a rheumatologist are joint swelling, pain in and around joints that lasts more than a few days, and joint stiffness. A medical history and physical along with blood tests and X-rays are used to diagnose rheumatic diseases.
Treatment can include the use of medications and may involve other health care providers such as physical and occupational therapists, orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists and occupational medicine specialists. Education is critical in understanding these diseases.