Rheumatology is a medical specialty that involves diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal diseases and rheumatic diseases. These diseases create inflammation in the muscles, bones, and joints. This inflammation leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain. Common musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus, and carpal tunnel syndrome. These conditions can affect the nervous system, eyes, and internal organs.
Becoming a rheumatologist requires:
- Four years of medical or osteopathic education
- Three years of residency training in internal medicine or pediatrics
- A rheumatology fellowship
To become a board certified rheumatologist, a physician must pass a board exam. This exam is to be retaken every ten years. Physicians are also required to participate in continuing medical education every year.
You should see a rheumatologist if you are experiencing persistent muscle or joint pain. The rheumatologist will create a treatment plan that best fits your health needs. At your first appointment, you will provide your medical history and family history. You will also undergo a physical examination to determine if there is any visible inflammation. Laboratory tests and radiographic tests (CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, and ultrasounds) can further assess inflammation or musculoskeletal abnormalities.