Joint Pain & Arthritis

Joint Pain & Arthritis

Joint pain & Arthritis is the domain of a Rheumatologist and the branch of medicine which deals with this is known as Rheumatology .
Rheumatology is a branch of Internal Medicine which deals with Rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases affect your joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and muscles. Among them are many types of arthritis, a term used for conditions that affect your joints. Apart from the arthritis like Rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatology also deals with conditions like Lupus, Scleroderma and Vasculitis.
These conditions are autoimmune disorders meaning there is an abnormality in the immune system which attacks one’s own body. The most easily noticed symptoms is joint pain. Should you have pain in the joints, especially if associated with redness, stiffness and swelling of the joints, you need to visit a rheumatologist. Since these conditions are systemic, meaning that it involves not only the joints but other organs like the kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, eyes, etc. This can make simple tasks like getting up in the morning, bathing, walking or even eating extremely painful or impossible to do.

Q. When should I see a Rheumatologist?
Any of the following symptoms may point to a Rheumatic disease.

Joints pain:
Any joint pain which does not resolve in a few days or
When there is associated swelling or
There is a lot of stiffness in joints especially when you wake up in the morning or
You have started to notice deformities or
There is redness and warmth over the joints or
Difficulties with day to day activities due to your joints pain

Skin changes:
Tightening of skin of hands and face with colour changes of fingers when exposed to cold
Rashes over face and cheeks with other systemic features like fever, joints pain, swelling over feet, etc.
Psoriasis with joint pains

Back pain:
Associated with morning stiffness with
Difficulty turning in bed
Buttock pains
Limitation of movements of the back and spine

Muscle disease:
Pain in the muscles with difficulty getting up from the chair or floor and raising the arms above the head

Other symptoms
Prolonged fever without any diagnosis
Dryness of the mouth or eyes
Recurrent oral ulcers
Recurrent uveitis or painful red eyes
Reduction or absent pulses in one of the arms
Recurrent unexplained multiple abortions or recurrent blood clots

You may also be referred by your treating physician if there is any abnormality in your reports like a positive Rheumatoid factor or positive ANA or any other laboratory abnormalities that may suggest a possibility of a Rheumatic disease