Frequently Asked Questions
Rheumatology is an area of medicine dedicated to treating joint pain diseases. This includes disorders of the bone, joint, muscles and the immune system. Examples include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, lupus and gout. Additionally, rheumatology encompasses individual areas of pain including bursitis and tendonitis.
A rheumatologist is an internist who has additional training and experience in diagnosing and treating arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Generally rheumatologists have at least 5 years of additional training after medical school.
Arthritis is a general term that means pain, swelling or deformity of joints. This encompasses more than 100 different disorders. Some types are mild and limited. Others are severe and chronic. This is why it's so important to make the correct diagnosis. Each type of arthritis is managed differently.
Yes, we are constantly learning from the latest research how to best treat rheumatologic diseases. Our physicians use the most innovative approaches in California.
The same technology that looks at an unborn baby in the womb is now being looked at joints and related structures. Our physicians are now using this innovative technology to diagnose and treat arthritis-related diseases.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disease affecting middle-age and older people. It is characterized by progressive damage to the joint cartilage the slippery material at the end of long bones and causes changes in the structures around the joint. These changes can include fluid accumulation, bony overgrowth, and loosening and weakness of muscles and tendons, all of which may limit movement and cause pain and swelling. The most common areas affected are the hands, knees, hips and spine. A rheumatologist uses medications, injections and other non-surgical therapies to treat osteoarthritis.
RA is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling (usually in a symmetrical pattern), and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well. The stiffness seen in active RA is typically worse in the morning and may last anywhere from one to two hours to the entire day. We've seen incredible advancements in treatment during the last few years.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called SLE or lupus) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and/or other organs of the body. The most common symptoms include skin rashes and arthritis, often accompanied by fatigue and fever. It is thought to be an auto-immune disease where the body attacks itself. Lupus varies from mild to severe, and typically involves alternating periods of remission and relapse.
Gout is a painful and potentially disabling form of arthritis that has been recognized since ancient times. Initial symptoms usually consist of intense episodes of painful swelling in single joints, most often in the feet (especially the big toe) but also in other joints. Treatments are now available to control most cases of gout, but diagnosing this disorder can be difficult. The characteristic laboratory abnormality is an elevated uric acid level.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease of the bones that makes them weakened and prone to fracture. The disease is "silent" because there are no symptoms when you have osteoporosis, and the condition may come to attention only after you break a bone. When you have osteoporosis, this can occur even after a minor injury, such as a fall. The most common fractures occur at the spine, wrist and hip. The goal of treating osteoporosis is to prevent such fractures in the first place. Many new treatments have been developed in recent years.
Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon, which is a cord-like structure located where a muscle narrows down to join a bone. It can be treated with ice, therapy, medications and injections.
Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa, a small sac that acts as a cushion or pad between moving structures (bones, muscles, tendons or skin). There are bursas located throughout the body, most commonly in the hips and shoulders. Injections are usually the best treatment for bursitis.