If you're struggling with a known or suspected inflammatory arthritis disorder, visit a rheumatologist at Palo Alto Medical Foundation to get started on the road to better health. Rheumatology is the medical study of rheumatic (painful or arthritic joints) diseases. A sub-specialty of internal medicine, rheumatology focuses on identifying and treating problems affecting joints and connective and soft tissues. Sutter care centers offer help for numerous inflammatory arthritis conditions, including:
Seeing your primary care doctor is the first best step to help you decide which specialist will provide you the most benefit. Your specialist will talk to you about your health history, listen to your concerns and do a physical exam to confirm your diagnosis. She or he may also conduct diagnostic tests, such as blood work, MRIs and ultrasounds, to rule out other conditions.
Once you have a diagnosis, you and your doctor will discuss all possible treatment options and determine the best one for your situation. Often inflammatory arthritis or autoimmune disease care becomes chronic disease management. At Palo Alto Medical Foundation, we develop a team to help you manage your health for the long term. If needed, you'll receive regular check-ups and monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of your treatment. When medication is part of your arthritis treatment, we will also develop a medication schedule that works for you.
Palo Alto Medical Foundation offers a wide range of medications that can greatly improve autoimmune conditions. These include:
- Simple pain management — This can include acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen or naproxen. We can guide you as to the appropriateness of anti-inflammatory treatment in addition to any other specific treatment.
- Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) — These medications suppress overactive immune systems caused by autoimmune disorders. They help arthritic joints by decreasing pain and inflammation, preserving function and reducing damage.
- Biologics — This is a type of disease modifying drug that targets specific parts of the immune system associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your doctor to see if this is right for you.
- Joint Injections — Your physician can inject anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, or hyaluronic acid into the joint to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Outpatient Infusion Centers — When infusion therapy is necessary, we have outpatient infusion centers managed by highly trained nurses and physicians that improve patient convenience and safety and reduce overall cost of care.
- Nutrition and Dietary Therapy — Sutter Health network doctors provide nutritional advice or refer you to a registered dietician or nutritionist for a consultation or class.
With all medications, your rheumatologist will provide ongoing medication management, including physical exams to check for swelling or pain, and blood tests to detect any side effects and toxicities.
In some cases your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help reduce pain and preserve function of joints and muscles. Your doctor can help connect you with a physical therapist with the right expertise.