A rheumatologist is a doctor who has received training to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions, also called rheumatic diseases. These diseases can affect the joints, muscles, and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and deformity.

Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system sends inflammation to areas of the body when it is not needed, causing damage and/orsymptoms. These diseases can also affect the eyes, skin, nervous system and internal organs. Rheumatologists treat joint disease similar to orthopaedic specialists but do not perform surgeries. Common diseases treated by rheumatologists include osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, tendinitis, and lupus.