Xray images

Rheumatology diagnosis

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 physicians.

Physical examination

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
-- Cytopathology and chemical pathology of fluid aspirated from affected joints - e.g. to differentiate between septic arthritis and gout

Further reading

What is rheumatology?

What is a rheumatologist?

Rheumatology diseases
Rheumatology treatments
Patient information