Rheumatology is the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory conditions affecting your muscles and joints (rheumatism).
Patients with MSK disorders often present with pain but other symptoms might include reduced mobility, swelling of a joint, muscle weakness or more generalized symptoms, such as fatigue.
There are many different causes of joint pain. Most people think of arthritis as a condition that only affects old people. Although osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition of joints, is the most common rheumatological joint disorder seen in rheumatology clinics, young adults and children can be badly affected by inflammatory forms of arthritis. If these conditions are not identified and treated promptly, they can badly damage the joints, resulting in disability.
Most of the inflammatory forms of arthritis are autoimmune conditions, many of which can affect other organ systems in the body. Much of a rheumatologist’s time is taken up with accurately diagnosing these conditions and advising on appropriate treatments. These conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and connective tissue disorders such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Other important conditions causing arthritis, and important not to miss, include infection and gout.
Rheumatologists will also look after patients with localized MSK issues, such as back pain and aches and pains in any other part of the body. Rheumatologists are also experienced in managing disorders of bone, including osteoporosis.
Rheumatologists work closely with other MSK specialists including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, radiologists, and orthopaedic surgeons. They will also involve other physicians in appropriate specialties in the care of patients with multisystem disorders.
Treatments for MSK and autoimmune conditions include:
- Drugs to relieve pain and stiffness, including analgesics and anti-inflammatories
- Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs to slow down the progression of the condition, including biologic therapies
- Local injection treatments for soft tissue and joint disorders
- Advice on lifestyle factors including diet, exercise, and weight reduction
- Referral to appropriate allied professionals, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- Referral to appropriate specialists, including orthopaedics and pain specialists.
Why choose us for rheumatology?
At Cromwell Hospital, you can expect:
- Care from leading consultants with specialist experience in all aspects of MSK disorders
- Consultants experienced in dealing with severe and complex cases of autoimmune disease
- Multidisciplinary care from our specialists, nurses and consultants who work together to find you the best treatment
- Access to the latest laboratory tests for the identification and diagnosis of rheumatological conditions
- State-of-the-art diagnostic imaging, including ultrasound and MRI, supervised by dedicated musculoskeletal radiologists
- A rheumatology team that will ensure that you have the best all-round treatment for your condition.
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Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via email or telephone.