Rheumatology is a specialized field for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, which cures lesions, pain and stiffness of tendons, joints, muscles and bones with conservative, i.e. non-surgical intervention. This includes autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or metabolic diseases (e.g. gout), other inflammatory disorders, joint abrasions, osteoporosis, spinal wear and tear and inflammatory conditions, pain caused by strain (including tennis elbows, frozen shoulders and swollen flat feet).  

Many diseases originating internally have musculoskeletal symptoms, therefore close cooperation with doctors in other areas is essential. A special emphasis is placed on the work of physiotherapists who are involved, in close cooperation with the patient, with harmonizing joint movement and gait, maintaining balance and strengthening weakened muscles.  

Rheumatological problems can occur in anyone, regardless of age or gender. Early detection and effective treatment of severe inflammatory rheumatological diseases, even at a young age, can significantly alter their outcome and the patient's quality of life.  

What is the difference between rheumatology and orthopedics?  

Rheumatology and orthopedics are similar in that both are engaged in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. The difference between the two areas of expertise can be found in the causes of complaints. Orthopedics treats congenital and acquired injuries, deformities and diseases of the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments with conservative (non-surgical) and surgical restorative treatment. In contrast, rheumatology is a field of non-surgical treatment for painful or dysfunctional musculoskeletal disorders that don’t derive from physical injury.  

When, and with what kind of complaints should I consult a rheumatologist?  

  • For chronic musculoskeletal problems involving stiffness, reduced mobility and/or deformation of the joints  
  • Arthritis, painful degeneration or inflammation of the joints 
  • Tendonitis, muscle sprains  
  • Muscle pain or weakness throughout or in a part of the body  
  • Osteoporosis, low-impact fracture  
  • In the case of diseases predisposing to osteoporosis (e.g. hyperthyroidism, diabetes) or long-term steroid (e.g. Medrol) treatment, in order to investigate and prevent the onset of osteoporosis 
  • Acute and chronic spinal and back pain  
  • Spinal pain radiating to lower or upper limbs  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis or other confirmed or suspected autoimmune musculoskeletal disorders, multiple joint pain  
  • Gout  
  • Foot arch problems, Achilles tendon pain  

What happens during the rheumatological examination?  

In order to make an accurate diagnosis it is essential to thoroughly question the patient as there can many reasons behind a general complaint and recurrent pain. Posture, working conditions, physical activity, etc. are all influencing factors. This is followed by a thorough physical examination that specifically examines painful areas. If necessary, tests - RTG, MR, CT, ultrasound scans - and lab tests may be ordered by the specialist, after which your personalized treatment and therapy can begin. 

How should I arrive for the examination?  

For a first consultation, please bring all your previous medical records, especially your rheumatological examination results. If x-ray scans or CT scans have already been carried out, bring those results and scans/x-rays with you too (preferably on a CD or other data storage device).