What is a rheumatologist?

A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases related to the musculoskeletal system as well as autoimmune disorders that are known as rheumatic diseases. If you have unusual muscle, bone, or joint pain, you would probably see your primary care doctor first. If your doctor suspects that the condition might be related to a rheumatic disease, then he or she would refer you to a rheumatologist.

Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system, which is supposed to protect your body from foreign invaders, like bacteria, instead attacks healthy cells, causing inflammation. Some autoimmune diseases—such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus—can affect the muscles, bones, and joints. A rheumatologist is a specialist trained to treat these disorders.