Rheumatology is a subspecialty of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Diseases. The rheumatic diseases encompass a wide range of disorders that share the involvement of joints and periarticular tissues.
Musculoskeletal disorders can range from local trauma such as tendonitis and infections to chronic destructive processes such as osteoarthritis and gout to chronic inflammatory diseases like the spondyloarthropathies and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatologists are also trained to treat chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Connective tissue diseases encompass the broad spectrum of systemic auto-immune diseases that includes lupus and its related disorders, scleroderma, the inflammatory myosities and the systemic vasculitidies.
Rheumatologists are adept at distinguishing localized processes from systemic processes, executing logical diagnostic procedures and counseling patients on appropriate treatment courses that range from physical therapy and local injections to the use of anti-inflammatory and immune modulating agents.