Frequently Asked Questions on Rheumatologists: What They Do and How

Reasons To See A Rheumatologist
Rheumatologist Diagnoses And Treats

A rheumatologist has expertise in diagnosing and healing inflammatory conditions, which affect the tendons, bones, joints, muscles and ligaments. Although the medic identifies the nature of musculoskeletal conditions and treats these, he or she does not do surgery.

Which Conditions Do a Rheumatologist Diagnoses and Treats?

He or she can treat both inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, which also affect blood vessels besides the structures and parts mentioned above. Some of the reasons to see a rheumatologist can be as follows.

  • Arthritis-related inflammation of the hips, shoulders or knees
  • Tendinitis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Bursitis
  • Behcet’s disease
  • Temporal arteritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatic
  • Scleroderma
  • Polymyositis
  • Paget’s disease
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Reiter’s syndrome
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reactive forms of arthritis (secondary to skin disease, infections or bowel disorders)
  • Gout
  • Idiopathic juvenile arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Sarcoidosis

Which Procedures Does He Or She Perform?

A rheumatologist performs procedures and examinations, which help him or her identify the nature of rheumatic conditions and treat these. Some of these procedures are mentioned hereunder.

Physical Examinations

A rheumatologist often does a full physical examination when:

  • An individual makes a first-time visit to him or her; or,
  • He or she should monitor the consequences of an existing treatment program.

In the course of a physical examination, a rheumatologist assesses the individual’s physical condition. The medical professional does that by checking that person’s pulse; by listening to his or her heart and lungs; and, by feeling for inflated lymph nodes.

The professional spends more time examining the parts where individuals report feeling stiffness or pain. He or she might ask them to flex, stretch or bend those parts. Besides, they will examine joints on the right and left body sides to compare the size, the severity of the swelling, the full movement potential of the joints, and their function.

Those who have arthritis can feel symptoms in a joint or more on a side of their body, but other people may notice stiffness and pain in one joint or more on each side.

A rheumatologist also reviews an individual’s medical history, family history and present medical conditions in the course of this comprehensive meeting.

Imaging Tests

Either a rheumatologist or primary care provider can use various tests to search for joint damage signs. Some tests which they may do are X-ray, MRI scan, ultrasound and CT scan.