What is a Rheumatologist?
A rheumatologist is a physician who is qualified by additional training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones.
What kind of training do Rheumatologists have?
After four years of medical school and three years of training in either internal medicine or pediatrics, rheumatologists devote an additional two to three years to specialized rheumatology training. Many rheumatologists choose to become board certified. Upon completion of their training, they must pass a rigorous exam conducted by the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics to be certified.
What do Rheumatologists treat?
Rheumatologists treat arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and other musculoskeletal pain disorders. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, gout, back pain, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia. In addition, rheumatologists treat many non-operative musculoskeletal problems such as bursitis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other more common causes of “aches and pains.” Your physician may help you decide if you have a condition that warrants care by a Rheumatologist.
Many types of rheumatic diseases are not easily identified in the early stages. Rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to diagnose these relatively uncommon disorders. Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. Often, these illnesses may change or evolve over time. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to identify the problem and design an individualized treatment program.