Pain can occur for a wide range of reasons. While a primary care doctor may suggest reasons why you have systemic, or chronic, pain, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain. A rheumatologist is a specialist focused on diseases of the muscles, joints, and bones. People with arthritis often see a rheumatologist, but this is not the only reason to see one. Lupus, fibromyalgia, and chronic bursitis may lead you to a rheumatologist to help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. They may work with you on dietary changes to reduce inflammation, prescribe specific medication to treat your condition, or suggest other lifestyle changes to help you feel better.
Identifying the Cause of Your Pain
A rheumatologist can help identify if your pain is caused by a chronic condition or if there is an injury to the area that has not been uncovered. If you have pain that hasn't been controlled and there is no clear cause, a rheumatologist can often figure out what is going on. With conditions like fibromyalgia, diagnosis involves ruling out a wide range of other potential diseases. There is no specific test for fibromyalgia and ruling out things like lupus or arthritis is often one of the first steps to diagnosis.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Pain
Your rheumatologist can tell you if a part of you is inflamed. If this is the case, you may be able to make dietary changes to reduce your inflammation. Some foods cause inflammation, while others can help reduce it. When you are able to go on a diet that reduces inflammation, you may see your pain decrease. Your rheumatologist can talk to you about food choices that will benefit your health and those that are going to hurt you in the long run. Pain can respond well to dietary changes when the pain is caused by inflammation.
Working With Your Rheumatologist
It's important that you work closely with your rheumatologist when you are in pain. If a treatment is not helpful, let your treatment provider know. When you try a new medication, give it time to work before giving up on it. If you develop a good working relationship with your rheumatologist, it will be easier to figure out what is going on. Report new symptoms if they come up, and keep up with your follow-up appointments. When you keep trying to determine what is wrong, you have a better shot at managing your overall pain.
Speak with a rheumatologist like one at Sarasota Arthritis Center to learn more.