Is your pain weather sensitive?
With chilly autumn rains coming, some people have a tendency to blame the changing weather on certain aches and pains that they feel. Pain may be in joints, muscles, back, neck, or in bones. It’s important to talk to your doctor about pain – it shouldn’t be embarrassing, especially if it feels severe, and persistent and lasts for more than a few weeks. In fact, it could be something diagnosable and treatable. It could be time to see a rheumatologist.
The medical science of rheumatology, a subspecialty within internal medicine, can be hard to understand. Most people associate rheumatology with arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, but there is much more to the specialty. Rheumatologists treat musculoskeletal (bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc.) disorders including common ones like neck and back pain, tendinitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and osteoarthritis, but they also specialize in immune system disorders.
What is your immune system and what does it do, you ask? Your immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body from diseases and infections. When you have an autoimmune condition or disease, your immune system attacks your body’s healthy cells by mistake. Common autoimmune conditions are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, among many more.
“Nothing is really ‘curable’ in autoimmune diseases,” explains Dr. Linh Ngo, DO, RHMSUS who sees patients in our Rheumatology Clinic. “There are options to treat and manage autoimmune diseases to decrease the impact they have on our patient’s lives.”
Some people go undiagnosed for years. The earlier you take action the more likely you are to feel better sooner and stay active longer.
Rheumatologic diseases are often complex in nature and difficult to diagnose. Your provider will want a complete medical history, family history, and exam. Blood tests may be ordered in addition to possible radiology procedures. It is also good to begin with a journal to document your pain.
Don’t accept chronic pain, see a rheumatologist.
Dr. Linh Ngo, DO, RHMSUS is a rheumatologist in our Rheumatology Clinic. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and board-eligible for Rheumatology.