Rheumatology incorporates the investigation, management, and rehabilitation of patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, i.e., the joints, bone, and soft tissues.
Rheumatic disorders include inflammatory Arthritis, autoimmune rheumatic disorders, soft tissue conditions (including injuries) osteoarhritis, spinal pain, chronic pain syndromes, and metabolic bone disease. Rheumatology requires interdisciplinary knowledge and awareness of new research in internal medicine, immunology, orthopedics, neurology and pain management, rehabilitation, psychiatry, and professions allied to medicine.
There is a common perception that all rheumatic conditions are chronic. This is not true. Mechanical and soft tissue lesions may be cured with relatively little input. Some conditions are acute (acute lupus, septic arthritis, rheumatoid vasculitis), may be life threatening, and may require emergency admission to hospital. Early and aggressive treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis may induce early remission and improve the prognosis. The introduction of new biologic therapies, requiring careful monitoring and documentation, has had a major impact on the work of rheumatologists.