When you come to The Alexandra Hospital for your initial consultation, your consultant will take a medical history and ask you to describe your symptoms. They may ask you questions like:
- What are your symptoms?
- When did they start?
- Can you describe your pain?
- What (if any) treatments have you tried so far?
- Does anything make your symptoms worse or better?
- Are you currently taking any medication?
They will carry out a physical examination, which may involve moving the affected joint or limb to determine your current range of movement and to see the precise points you feel any pain or stiffness.
Blood tests can be helpful when investigating many rheumatic issues, and you may also be referred for an X-ray, ultrasound or MRI scan, all of which are quickly and easily arranged for you on-site.
Your symptoms, clinical history, physical examination and the results of any tests will all be used by your consultant to make a diagnosis and to formulate a treatment plan specifically for you. This will always be discussed with you fully so that you can make an informed choice about treatment
If the issue is able to be diagnosed within your first consultation, treatment can often begin right away with either medication or steroid injections.
Should surgery be required, your consultant will discuss all available options and liaise with orthopaedic surgeons on your behalf to ensure you receive the most appropriate help as soon as possible.
Whatever treatment is needed, your consultant will closely monitor the results at regular intervals. If symptoms flare-up or new symptoms appear, treatment can be quickly and easily adjusted.