Apart from an extensive
medical history, there are useful methods of diagnosis both performed
easy enough in a physical examination and, on the other hand, more
complicated ones, often requiring a rheumatologist or other specialised
Following are examples of methods of diagnosis able to be performed in a normal physical examination.
-- Schober's test tests the flexion of the lower back
-- Multiple joint inspection
-- Musculoskeletal Examination
- Screening Musculoskeletal Exam (SMSE) - a rapid assessment of structure and function
- General Musculoskeletal Exam (GMSE) - a comprehensive assessment of joint inflammation
- Regional Musculoskeletal Exam (RMSE) - assessments of structure,
function and inflammation combined with special testing
-- Laboratory tests - e.g. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, Rheumatoid Factor, Anti-CCP, ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibody)
-- X-rays of affected joints and other imaging methods
and chemical pathology of fluid aspirated from affected joints - e.g.
to differentiate between septic arthritis and gout