It’s important to know that quite a few rheumatic conditions cannot currently be cured. However, symptoms can often be managed with appropriate treatment.
There is no ‘on size fits all’ treatment for rheumatic conditions, and treatment is always best when carefully calibrated to the individual. The value of seeing an experienced Consultant Rheumatologist is in benefitting from a bespoke treatment plan which may not be available as easily or quickly through other routes.
Due to the extensive nature of the musculoskeletal system, and the many varied conditions that can affect it, a rheumatologist takes a holistic approach to treatment, looking at every aspect of your health, fitness and lifestyle to help tailor treatment to your specific needs.
Symptoms for many conditions may flare up periodically, or new ones might appear. By closely monitoring the results of any treatment, your consultant can make changes when needed to provide you with the best possible ongoing relief of symptoms. Treatment is always very much a collaboration between you and your consultant, and its important you let them know if your symptoms change.
Many diseases that affect the joints and muscles can often be managed well without the need for surgery.
Treatment might involve physical therapy to help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility and mobility in painful joints. Our superb on-site physiotherapy team work closely with the Rheumatology team to provide the necessary guidance and support for this.
Where a rheumatic condition is caused by inflammation, various medicines are available to help reduce swelling and to relieve pain.
If your pain is not being suitably managed with over-the-counter medication, your consultant may prescribe stronger painkillers when appropriate. Strength and frequency of medication can be adjusted as needed to get the right balance of symptom relief vs. risk of side effects.
Steroid injections are a common treatment for rheumatic conditions, offering both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. If these help to relieve your symptoms they can be repeated periodically. Depending on the exact source of your pain, these injections may be given by your rheumatologist in clinic or by a radiologist under ultrasound guidance to help ensure precision.
Around one third of people who suffer with a rheumatic condition will end up on advanced therapies to manage their symptoms. Following a careful assessment and discussion with your consultant, and if appropriate for your condition, you may be able to access advanced therapies that are rationed in the NHS due to cost.
Your consultant works extremely closely with specialists in other fields, like Dermatology and Gastroenterology, when required. This close collaboration ensures you receive the best treatment for your condition, from the most appropriate specialist.
If conservative treatment options are not able to manage your symptoms, surgery may be an option. It’s important to know that surgery is not often needed, but it can be helpful for those with particularly severe symptoms, such as those caused by advanced rheumatoid arthritis.
Where damage to a joint is extensive, joint replacement surgery may be advised. This operation replaces the damaged joint with an artificial implant to restore pain-free movement. If this would be appropriate treatment for you, your consultant will refer you to one of the excellent orthopaedic surgeons at the hospital.
If you have severe Crohn’s Disease, surgery may be advised to remove part of the bowel. In this case, you would be referred to a General Surgeon or Colorectal Surgeon at the hospital.
Whatever symptoms or condition you are struggling with, the highly experienced Rheumatology team at Bath Clinic will ensure you receive the most effective, evidence-based treatment for your specific needs at all times.