When Should You See a Rheumatologist & What Do They Treat?
Your Saint Thomas and St. Croix rheumatologist Dr. Mary Olsen is trained to treat a variety of health conditions, but the most common of these are autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If you suffer from an autoimmune disorder it means that your immune system is mistakenly attacking healthy tissue in your body, in the case of RA this typically means your joints. So if you are struggling with chronic pain in your joints and you cannot trace the pain to a recent injury, or if the pain worsens over time and other treatments have not been successful, you should consider seeing a rheumatologist. You can learn more by contacting your local expert from Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Mary Olsen.
It's important to find out if your recurring pain is caused by rheumatoid arthritis so your doctor can advise the best treatment plan. Autoimmune disorders often are hereditary so your doctor may ask about your family history as well as closely examine your health history.
A physical examination can help assess your overall health and test the mobility of the affected joints, as well as the level of inflammation and pain you may be experiencing.
Imaging and lab tests can provide the final diagnosis but you should keep in mind that autoimmune disorders can sometimes take years to fully develop, but your doctor may still recommend early treatment.
Rheumatologists in Saint Thomas and St. Croix
Treatments are tailored to your specific needs but could involve a wide range of approaches including prescribed and over-the-counter medication to manage the discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as injections to reduce inflammation. You may be recommended changes to your diet and exercise routine and could be referred for physical therapy to assist with healing.
Only you know yourself so many experts recommend keeping a log of how much pain you are experiencing and how well your joints feel overall after the different treatments as it's part common to adjust these over time.
If you are in need of the expertise of a rheumatologist you can schedule a consultation with Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine with Dr. Olsen by dialing (340) 714-2845 for the Saint Thomas office and (340) 692-5000 for St. Croix.