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Rheumatology investigates, diagnoses and manages people with musculoskeletal conditions.

Rheumatology patient in consultation with a specialist
Rheumatology investigates, diagnoses and manages people with musculoskeletal conditions. There are a number of musculoskeletal conditions and disorders that affect the bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues and at Circle Health rheumatology department we help diagnose and treat them.

Rheumatological disease can cause a broad range of symptoms, and it’s important to diagnose these quickly to establish whether it’s an acute or chronic condition. This is so your condition can be treated accordingly.

Some rheumatological conditions include:

Arthritis is a term used to describe painful conditions of the joints and bones. According to the NHS, it is a common condition, and around 10 million people in the UK are affected by it or associated disorders. Two of the main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Cartilage (connective tissue) between your bones gradually wastes away, and this can lead to painful rubbing of bone on bone in your joints. It may also cause joints to fall out of their natural positions. The most frequently affected joints are in your hands, spine, knees and hips.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a more severe, but less common, autoimmune disease. The body's immune system attacks and destroys your affected joint, causing pain and swelling. It can lead to reduction of movement, and the breakdown of bone and cartilage.

At Circle Health, we are proud to facilitate Consultant rheumatologists who can help test, diagnose, and treat or manage your symptoms in order to help improve your quality of life.

Some common concerns that mean you might need an appointment with a rheumatologist are:

  • Persistent joint pain
  • Inflammation indicated by joint swelling
  • Tenderness of your joints
  • Stiffness, redness, warmth
  • Joint deformity
  • Loss of range of motion or flexibility
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, weakness.

Rheumatological diagnosis and treatment with Circle Health will be carried out by our multidisciplinary team, comprising dedicated Consultants, nurses, physiotherapists and more.  

Whether you have acute joint pain or a chronic condition, our team will strive to reduce your symptoms through effective treatment.  

Rheumatology is highly specialist. The type of treatment you will receive will depend entirely on your symptoms. Your Consultant will assess your condition and give you a specialist opinion tailored to your needs. If further diagnostic tests or treatments are required, these will be explained fully during your consultation.

Your Consultant may use one or several of the following common rheumatologic diagnostic tests to determine your condition and the best way to treat it.


X-ray is an imaging technique that is used to show up abnormalities in bones and certain body tissue. X-rays usually use low amounts of radiation, so the risk to your health is very small.

Depending on what type you’re having, an X-ray should take 15-30 minutes and is carried out by a radiographer. A consultant radiologist will provide the results.


An ultrasound scan uses high frequency wave sounds to create images of the inside of your body. Ultrasound cannot be heard by the human ear, but can be detected using a machine called an ultrasound scanner.

The ultrasound waves are delivered by a small handheld sensor, which is similar to a microphone. Some cold gel will be applied to your body – this enables the sensor, which is passed over your skin, to pick up sound waves.

MRI scan

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed, usually 2-D images, of the inside of your body. MRI scans can show muscles, joints, bone marrow, blood vessels, nerves and other structures within your body and are commonly used to examine the brain, spine, abdomen and pelvis.

Aspiration of the joint

Aspiration of the joint removes fluid around your joint. This can be carried out to reduce swelling, or to extract a sample to analyse and diagnose a problem. A needle is used to take the sample, and the procedure is usually done under a local anaesthetic.

Booking your rheumatological procedures with Circle Health differs depending on your condition and recommended treatment option.

To get started, you can book a consultation online with one of our many experienced rheumatological Consultants. This is a simple and fast process. You can also book your consultation by calling or by making an email enquiry.

To familiarise yourself with the many treatment options for joint issues that we offer, you can read our informative, in-depth treatment pages. This could help you to decide which treatment option might suit you best.

At your consultation, you will likely receive important diagnostic testing and discuss the right treatment option for you with your Consultant.

Rheumatoid arthritis: everything you need to know

Consultant rheumatologist Jeremy McNally from Circle Reading Hospital shares important information about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis, including the symptoms of the condition, its causes, and effecitve treatment options.

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