Rheumatology – Norfolk « BACK TO HEALTH SERVICES LIST

Joint pain can slow you down, limit your mobility, and keep you from enjoying your favorite activities. So when you experience joint pain–for any reason–you want to find relief fast. 

In some cases, this means seeing a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in symptoms and conditions caused by your body’s own inflammatory response. Usually, this response is quite normal–you typically experience inflammation when you are ill or injured. But sometimes, your immune system’s inflammatory response may end up resulting in damage to your body–particularly your joints.

In these cases, you should seek treatment from a rheumatologist as quickly as possible. The rheumatology team at Yankton Medical Clinic will be able to help diagnose the underlying condition causing your joint point and address your symptoms. The goal of our rheumatologists is to improve your mobility and get you back to enjoying your daily life! 

What is a Rheumatologist (and What Do They Treat?)

When you experience an injury to your joints or connective tissues, you’ll likely go see an orthopedist. If inflammation is the root cause of those injuries, however, a rheumatologist will also be needed to help address the underlying condition. That’s because a rheumatologist specializes in issues caused by your body’s immune system and inflammatory response.

As a result, rheumatologists will typically address conditions, diseases, and disorders in the following categories:

  • Autoimmune diseases: These are diseases in which the immune system does not function properly. As a result, your immune system may attack healthy tissue. There are a wide variety of autoimmune diseases that can impact people. When these diseases result in damage or pain in the joints or connective tissues, you will likely need to see a rheumatologist.
  • Inflammation of the joints: Sometimes inflammation is caused by the joint itself and not by an underlying autoimmune condition. When your knees, elbows, wrists, or other joints experience inflammation disorders, your rheumatologist will work to provide effective treatment. One of the most common such examples of this is rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Connective tissue diseases: When disease strikes your ligaments or tendons, a rheumatologist will be able to help you diagnose and treat your symptoms. Symptoms may involve skin and other organs, so sometimes these conditions can be challenging to detect and diagnose.

These inflammatory diseases can occur at any age. In some cases, they may be genetic or hereditary. People with a family history of rheumatologic conditions should talk to their doctors about when they should see a rheumatologist.

What Conditions Does a Rheumatologist Treat

Rheumatologists will treat a wide variety of conditions. While they may treat the same symptoms as an orthopedist, a rheumatologist’s approach will necessarily be different.

In some cases, they may treat the same conditions that an orthopedist will treat.. 

In general, rheumatologists will treat the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Osteoporosis
  • Tendon issues, such as achilles tendonitis or rotator cuff issues
  • Polymyositis
  • Some muscle issues, such as myopathies and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
  • And more

If you think you are experiencing inflammation-related pain or discomfort, it’s important to discuss this with your physician and your rheumatologist as soon as possible. Inflammation can cause permanent damage if it’s not addressed and treated.

What Types of Treatments do Dermatologists Offer?

One of the primary differences between rheumatologists and orthopedists is that a rheumatologist does not perform surgery. If treating your condition requires surgical therapy, you will likely get a referral to a specific orthopedic surgeon. 

In general, rheumatological conditions will be treated using the following techniques:

  • Occupational and physical therapies: In some cases, symptoms can be relieved by showing patients new and less uncomfortable ways to move. Physical therapy can help expand your range of motion and strengthen targeted muscle groups.
  • Medication: Many rheumatic conditions cause pain and discomfort. Because those conditions are inflammatory in nature, corticosteroids are often used to provide relief by minimizing swelling. Additionally, immunosuppressive drugs will often be prescribed to help limit the effectiveness of your immune system–as a result, your immune system will do less damage to your healthy tissues. 
  • Joint injections: Because your joints are the cause of your discomfort, joint injections are sometimes used to deliver pain relieving medication directly to the knee, elbow, or source of pain.

There may come a point where rheumatic disease does enough damage to your joints that they should be replaced. In these cases, you’ll be referred to an orthopedist for a surgical procedure. The rheumatology and orthopedics teams at YMC work closely together to ensure patients receive attentive, high quality care at every stage.

Rheumatology at YMC Norfolk

Yankton Medical Clinic P.C. Norfolk’s rheumatology services offer diagnoses and treatments for patients suffering pain affecting their joints and connective tissues. Our rheumatologist works with patients who are dealing with arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and complex forms of gout. They also help treat patients with lupus and vasculitis, musculoskeletal pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, and a variety of other medical conditions.

As part of Yankton Medical Clinic’s array of healthcare services available in Norfolk, Nebraska, rheumatology plays an important role in providing care for patients suffering from pain. Because the musculoskeletal system is central to patients’ ability to live and function normally, maintaining healthy joints and muscles and appropriately treating underlying rheumatic diseases is vital. Rheumatology helps patients live with as little pain as possible and retain the function of their joints.

While some rheumatologic conditions are not curable, most are very treatable. Patients should not be discouraged from receiving care if their condition is not curable since treatment can help to lessen their pain and help them function on a day-to-day basis. If you or a loved one are suffering from joint pain, you won’t know how much better it’s possible to feel if treatment isn’t pursued.

If you would like to learn more, contact us to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more about rheumatology here: www.rheumatology.org

For appointments: (402) 844-8110



Yankton Medical Clinic, P.C. – Norfolk

Fountain Point Medical Community
3901 W. Norfolk Ave.
Norfolk, NE 68701

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