Rheumatology Department Services
At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the Department of Rheumatology provides a full range of clinical services focusing on the care of a broad range of illnesses that can affect the joints, muscles and bones - including different forms of arthritis, autoimmune conditions, osteoporosis and other types of chronic or crippling diseases that cause swelling and pain.
When Should You See a Rheumatologist?
If musculoskeletal (muscle or joint) pains are not severe or disabling and last just a few days, it makes sense to give the problem a reasonable chance to be resolved. But sometimes, pain in the joints, muscles or bones is severe or persists for more than a few days. At that point, you should see your primary care physician (PCP). Depending on your health care plan, your PCP may refer you to 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 discover the cause of swelling and pain. It is important to determine a correct diagnosis early so that appropriate treatment can begin early. Some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the early stages of the disease.
Because some rheumatic diseases are complex, one visit to a rheumatologist may not be enough to determine a diagnosis and course of treatment. These diseases often change or evolve over time. Rheumatologists work closely with patients to identify the problem and design an individualized treatment program.
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