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What is Rheumatology

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Rheumatology is one of the specialized areas dealing with various musculoskeletal and autoimmune disorders. Knowing them helps you self-diagnose your health conditions and lead to appropriate treatment by a health professional. This article will bring you to what need to know about rheumatology that helps you deal with joint and soft tissue abnormalities.

What is rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders that affect the joints, muscles, and connective tissues, which are commonly referred to as rheumatic disorders. Meanwhile, rheumatology differs from orthopedics, which is also a joint and muscle specialist, in that rheumatology is concerned with medical conditions of joints and soft tissues rather than physical conditions. Rheumatology also overlaps with immunology, as many rheumatic disorders are associated with immune system abnormalities.

Rheumatology can be traced back to ancient times, as the Indian Medicine book Charaka Samhita described arthritis variants, or Greek physician Hippocrates described gout and dubbed it “arthritis of the rich.” However, modern rheumatology was founded in 1930 by American physicians Bernard Comroe and Joseph Lee Hollander, who ran arthritis clinics at the University of Pennsylvania between 1937 and 1950 and wrote the major rheumatology textbook, Arthritis and Allied Conditions. Then, in the 1950s, scientists and physicians discovered and transformed rheumatic disease into an auto-immune disease, laying the groundwork for current rheumatic disease treatment.

What are rheumatic disorders?

Rheumatic disorders, also known as rheumatism, are medical conditions that cause chronic and intermittent pain in the joints and connective tissues. The American College of Rheumatology currently divides rheumatic disorders into ten categories, which include:

  1. Diffuse connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, Scleroderma, Polymyositis, Dermatomyositis, Relapsing polychondritis, Behçet’s disease, and Sjögren syndrome
  2. Arthritis associated with spondylitis such as ankylosing spondylitis, reactive arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis
  3. Osteoarthritis and Degenerative joint disease
  4. Rheumatic syndromes associated with infectious agents 
  5. Metabolic and endocrine diseases associated with rheumatic states, including gout, and pseudogout
  6. Neoplasms
  7. Neurovascular disorders
  8. Bone and cartilage disorders
  9. Extraarticular disorders such as bursitis/tendinitis, and capsulitis
  10. Miscellaneous disorders associated with articular manifestations


Many of them are connective tissue disorders caused by an infection that caused inflammation, or auto-immune system abnormalities that cause pain and damage to joints and connective tissues. These abnormalities differ significantly from wear-and-tear or direct physical damage to joints and tissue, which are commonly associated with orthopedic injuries and necessitate a different treatment process.

Who are rheumatologists?

Rheumatologists are board-certified physicians who have completed additional training in joints and soft tissues, auto-immune systems, and rheumatic disorders. Rheumatologists are distinguished from orthopedists by their training, despite the fact that they both specialize in joints and tissue. Rheumatologists specialize in arthritis and systematic abnormalities of joints and soft tissues, whereas orthopedists specialize in joint injuries and degenerative conditions.



Rheumatologists can mostly be found in specialized clinics, or large hospitals with musculoskeletal departments, working with orthopedists, rehabilitation specialists, and sometimes working cross-department with specialists in auto-immune.

What rheumatologists can be done for you?

Rheumatologists, or physicians trained specifically in rheumatology, are the ones who treat the rheumatic disorders mentioned previously. The majority of rheumatic disease treatments include analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), steroids, monoclonal antibodies, and various biopharmaceuticals. The majority of them are required for pain relief and to limit the progression of diseases

Meanwhile, orthopedists are necessary for the treatment of some rheumatic disorders that require surgery. These surgical procedures include early synovectomies, which involve the removal of inflamed synovia in order to prevent spreading and tissue destruction. The other group is known as corrective intervention, which is performed after joint and tissue destruction has occurred.

Rheumatic disorder treatment at Phyathai 1 International  

Internal Medicine center of Phyathai 1 International is available with teams of highly experienced rheumatologists to provide you with a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for rheumatic disorders from arthritis to joint deformation caused by abnormalities in auto-immune systems using the latest medicine and technology available throughout the process of treatment in combination with our teams of specialists in auto-immune, orthopedics from musculoskeletal center, spines from spine center, and rehabilitation from the rehabilitation center.

If you are currently suffering from joint pains or abnormalities, we recommend consulting with our specialist at the Internal Medicine center of Phyathai 1 International, both open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. To ensure the fastest procedure time, We recommend taking a reservation by phone at number (+66)2-201-4600 ext.3220 and 3222 or by E-mail at [email protected].

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