A rheumatologist, in short, is a provider who specializes in various types of rheumatic diseases (think aching joints). In layman's terms, they are usually known as arthritis doctors, but knowing when to visit a rheumatologist is often tricky. Is your joint pain chronic? Does the pain go away? How do you know when it's time to go to the doctor? As rheumatologists assess a wide range of diseases and disorders while creating treatment plans to help individuals suffering, it's important to have your pain checked out.
There are over 100 different rheumatic diseases, and according to the American College of Rheumatology, “roughly 54.4 million adults in the United States have arthritis.” That means, you're likely to know someone who suffers from rheumatism. Through this blog, you’ll get to know what a rheumatologist assesses, when to visit a rheumatologists’ office, as well as the questions you should ask!
Common Assessments of a Rheumatologist:
Many rheumatic diseases run in families, so knowing your medical history is important to see if you are at a greater risk for getting one of these common disorders. While family medical history plays a role in your assessment, a rheumatologist will also look for other symptoms and signs. Here are eleven different things that a rheumatologist may assess:
- Physical Exam
- Severity of Disease/Disorder
- Disorders of Joints, Muscles, and Bones
- Overall Function of the Person (physical and mental well-being, independence, etc.)
- Results of Imaging
- Treatment Options
- Referrals to Other Providers
- References to Orthopedic Aids (splint, brace, cane, etc.)
- Referrals for Corrective Surgery
- Potential Hospital Stays
Questions Rheumatologist Ask
Beyond an examination, expect a conversation with your rheumatologist. This specialist learns a lot about your medical history through an open discussion on what your symptoms are and how they have been affecting your life.
A rheumatologist may ask some of these questions during your visit:
- Where in your body do you feel pain?
- Is there anything that you do that makes your pain feel better?
- Is there anything that makes it feel worse?
- When did the pain start?
- Does the pain feel sharp or dull?
- How long does your pain generally last?
- Do you feel any swelling of your joints?
- Do you notice any redness around your joints?
- Have your symptoms affected your daily tasks?
- Have you recently injured the affected joint?
- Have you recently been in an accident?
- Do you overuse the affected joint by a repetitive activity?
- Do you know any family member suffering from similar issues?
How You Can Live with a Chronic Rheumatic Disease
While not all rheumatic diseases are long-term, many of them are chronic, and knowing how to live a successful life with them is essential. There are many different ways a person can choose to deal with a long-term (chronic) rheumatic disease, and when you work with a rheumatologist, you'll also learn how to correctly treat the symptoms. Some treatments include:
- Coping Mechanisms
- Prevention Techniques
Visit a Rheumatologist at Voyage Healthcare
Voyage Healthcare's rheumatologist sees patients at our Robbinsdale and Maple Grove locations. Our offices provide a calm setting to help teach patients and families about rheumatic diseases, treatments, and how to improve the quality of life for those suffering with pain.
If you think you may be suffering from a rheumatic disease, consult with our providers today to learn more about your next steps. Schedule an appointment and get started on your path to a healthier, happier you!