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What Does a Rheumatology Doctor Treat?

A rheumatologist or rheumatology doctor is qualified to treat several rheumatologic diseases

A rheumatologist or rheumatology doctor is qualified to treat several rheumatologic diseases, including:

  • Musculoskeletal pain disorders
  • Back and neck pain
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon, most commonly from overuse but also from an infection)
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursae [fluid-filled pads] that act as cushions at the joints)
  • Osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage between your bone collapses)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and damage throughout the body)
  • Osteoporosis (a condition where the bones become weak and brittle)
  • Gout (a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness, and tenderness in joints)
  • Spondylitis (inflammation in your spinal bones or vertebrae)
  • Myositis (muscle inflammation)
  • Fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain and tenderness)
  • Vasculitis (an inflammation of the blood vessels that causes changes in the blood vessels walls)
  • Sciatica (nerve pain from an injury to the sciatic nerve)
  • Cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerve)
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness and tingling in the hand and arm)
  • Still’s disease (a rare inflammatory disorder that affects the whole body)
  • Dermatomyositis (an inflammatory disease characterized by muscle weakness and rash)
  • Osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone caused by an infection)
  • Certain autoimmune disorders, such as:
    • Lupus (a chronic autoimmune condition that can cause inflammation throughout your body)
    • Antiphospholipid syndrome (a disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the normal proteins in the blood)
    • Scleroderma (chronic hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues)
    • Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth)
    • Lyme arthritis (arthritis caused by Lyme disease bacteria)

Who is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine who diagnoses and treats arthritis and autoimmune illnesses. They mainly treat people with pain and disorders of the

  • Joints.
  • Muscles.
  • Bones.
  • Other connective tissues.

Many rheumatologists are involved in research to find the cause and suggest enhanced treatment for rheumatic disease.

What training does a rheumatologist receive?

Rheumatologists must complete the following training:

  • They should complete 4 years of medical or osteopathic education.
  • They should complete 3 years of residency training in either internal medicine or pediatrics.
  • After residency, they must enroll in a 2- or 3-year rheumatology fellowship.
  • Finally, they should take a board examination to become board certified in rheumatology.
  • They should repeat the board examination every 10 years.

What to expect during a visit to a rheumatologist?

When you visit a rheumatologist, they will perform the following procedure:

  • They will gather your medical history.
  • They will perform a thorough examination to look for signs of inflammation throughout your body.
  • They will order for an X-ray or other laboratory tests. They will review the results of these tests and previous tests, if performed, and combine them to determine the source of your symptoms.
  • They may develop a treatment plan based on your symptoms and causes.
  • Treatment options may include:
    • Medications
    • Physical therapy
    • Referral to other specialists
    • Joint/tendon injection


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Medically Reviewed on 3/4/2021


When should you see a Rheumatologist?

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