Pediatric rheumatologists have completed medical school, plus a three-year pediatric training program. They then continue their training with an additional three years becoming experts on conditions that affect kids’ joints, muscles, bones and connective tissues. They must pass a comprehensive exam to demonstrate their expertise.
The specialized training pediatric rheumatologists receive is important because children have unique medical needs and symptoms that differ from adults.
Types of musculoskeletal pain your child may experience
Pediatric rheumatologists with Lehigh Valley Reilly Children's Hospital have the expertise to treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Autoimmune disorders like juvenile arthritis, lupus or Kawasaki disease
- Inflammatory disorders of joints, muscles or eyes
- Extended, unexplained fevers
- Muscle pain, loss of appetite and fatigue
Diagnosing muscle, bone or joint pain
Pediatric rheumatologists take great care to evaluate and diagnose the underlying cause of your child’s condition or pain. The most important diagnostic tools a pediatric rheumatologist has are the child’s medical history and a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Treating rheumatoid diseases in children
No cures exist for pediatric rheumatic diseases, but we offer treatments that provide long-term relief from inflammation and pain.
Our specialists will start with the least aggressive treatment approach that is likely to provide relief. These may include:
- Medicines to reduce pain or inflammation
- Disease-modifying drugs, which address the body’s reaction to the condition and prevent joint damage
- Physical therapy to keep the muscles active
- Dietary changes to support total wellness
In rare cases, we may refer you to a surgeon who can repair or replace a joint or remove inflamed tissue.
Team approach to care for bone, muscle or joint pain
Depending on your child’s condition, pediatric rheumatologists may collaborate with other specialists. We work with:
- Pediatric cardiologists
- Pediatric gastroenterologists
- Pediatric ophthalmologists
- Orthopedic surgeons
- Pediatric nephrologists
- Rehabilitation specialists
We may also involve social workers, psychiatrists or nutritionists to care for your child’s total well-being.