What is rheumatology?
Rheumatology is a sub specialty of medicine that deals with rheumatic diseases. These are primarily diseases of joints, bones, muscles, soft tissues, and autoimmune diseases. Rheumatology is derived from the Greek word “rheuma” meaning discharge and the suffix “ology” which means a study of. Rheumatology is a specialty rapidly developing based on new scientific discoveries. These discoveries relate to a better understanding of the immunology of rheumatologic disorders.
What do rheumatologists treat?
Rheumatologists treat many different types of arthritis, musculoskeletal pain disorders, certain autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis. They treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, and scleroderma. Some of these can be difficult to diagnose and treat and are very serious.
When should you see a rheumatologist?
If musculoskeletal pain lasts just a few days and is not severe or disabling, it makes sense to give the problem a chance to be resolved. For some individuals, joint and muscle pain is severe or persists for a long time. If you are experiencing extended joint or muscle pain, speak to your family doctor who may decide to refer you to a rheumatologist.