Apart from an extensive medical history, there are useful methods of diagnosis both performed easy enough in a physical examination and, on the other hand, more complicated ones, often requiring a rheumatologist or other specialised physicians.
Following are examples of methods of diagnosis able to be performed in a normal physical examination.
- Schober's test tests the flexion of the lower back.
- Multiple joint inspection
- Musculoskeletal Examination
- Screening Musculoskeletal Exam (SMSE) - a rapid assessment of structure and function
- General Musculoskeletal Exam (GMSE) - a comprehensive assessment of joint inflammation
- Regional Musculoskeletal Exam (RMSE)- focused assessments of structure, function and inflammation combined with special testing
- Laboratory tests (e.g. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate, Rheumatoid Factor, Anti-CCP, ANA (Anti-Nuclear Antibody) )
- X-rays of affected joints and other imaging methods
- Cytopathology and chemical pathology of fluid aspirated from affected joints (e.g. to differentiate between septic arthritis and gout)
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