Our Services

The rheumatologists at Houston Methodist diagnose and treat a wide range of painful conditions usually caused by inflammation, swelling and pain in the joints or muscles, which are known as rheumatic diseases. To diagnose patients, we use imaging studies and chemical pathology as well as physical examinations and laboratory tests. Each patient receives a treatment plan that takes each patient's unique lifestyle into consideration.
We specialize in treating and managing a wide range of rheumatic disorders and diseases, including the following conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common condition and includes joint pain and stiffness. This autoimmune disease may be chronic or characterized by periodic symptoms (flares) and is usually symmetrical, often affecting the hands; several effective medications can ease symptoms and slow the progression of RA.
  • Psoriatic and reactive arthritis involve skin problems of psoriasis (red and scaly skin patches) along with joint arthritic symptoms; treatment is similar to RA. Reactive arthritis is joint inflammation (usually with inflammation of the eyes and the urinary tract) resulting from a previous infection (often with chlamydia) in another part of the body. 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of spondylarthritis (or spondyloarthropathy); the immune system attacks specifically where ligaments and tendons attach to bone; this genetic disease primarily affects the spine and hips affecting young men who carry a particular immune marker (HLA-B27). 
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease (more common in women than men) that damages the skin, heart, lung, kidneys and brain, as well as joints; symptoms can be alleviated with pain relievers and drugs that suppress the immune response but do not alter the course of lupus. 
  • Sjögren’s syndrome most obvious symptoms include dry eyes and dry mouth; this autoimmune disease attacks salivary and tear glands, mostly in women; a person with Sjögren’s syndrome often has another rheumatic disease, most commonly RA. 
  • Polymyositis is a type of myositis affecting several muscles that attacks blood vessels, normal muscle fibers and connective tissue causing muscle weakness on both sides of the body, usually in the trunk or torso. 
  • Inflammatory muscle diseases, commonly referred to as myositis, is chronic abnormal muscle inflammation due to autoimmunity, infection or medications, left untreated, can lead to disability; after identifying and treating any underlying cause, treatment can relieve symptoms of muscle inflammation. 
  • Vasculitis inflammation of blood vessels may be due to infection or medication; chronic vasculitis is an autoimmune disease that attacks any part of the circulatory system causing narrowing and reduced blood flow that damage organs; early treatment can prevent organ damage. 
  • Scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is hardening of the skin and is a connective tissue disease that affects muscles and joints and internal organs, as well as the skin; fingers that are overly sensitive to cold or stress and become either numb or painful and/or discolored may be early signs of scleroderma. 
  • Connective tissue diseases are a mixture of more than 200 different conditions (in addition to scleroderma); some are genetic, others are caused by infection or tissue injury; treatment can alleviate symptoms and genetic counseling can help with family planning.

Many of the more than 80 diseases attributed to the body’s immune system attacking the body inappropriately affect muscle, bones and joints; treatments alleviate symptoms and suppress the immune system. Contact your doctor today if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or joint and muscle pain.