Frequently Asked Questions

"Here we answer some frequently asked questions by patients and their families which we hope will help inform you."
Narainraj Kamalaraj
Dr Narainraj Kamalaraj
Director

A rheumatologist is a specialist physician who helps assess and manage arthritis, other musculoskeletal conditions and autoimmune disorders. 

Arthritis affects the joints while other musculoskeletal conditions can also affect bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Autoimmune diseases commonly affect the musculoskeletal system but also other organs including the skin, eyes, nervous system, kidneys and other internal organs.

In Australia a rheumatologist has often completed at least seven years of postgraduate training after obtaining their medical degree including three years of subspecialist training in rheumatology.

Rheumatologists are experts in assessing and managing a number of conditions including but not limited to:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pain – neck, back, shoulder, hip, foot
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Gout
  • Lupus
  • Scleroderma
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Vasculitis
  • Myositis

Rheumatologists undertake a careful process of thorough history-taking and focussed examination and investigations to help diagnose rheumatological conditions. 

A personalised management plan can then be generated in consultation with you consisting of one or more of physical therapy, medications, surgery and follow up may be required to discuss further results, assess progress or monitor treatment.

Rheumatologists can also perform procedures to help diagnose and treat rheumatological conditions including joint aspiration and steroid injections into joints, bursae or around tendons.

There is a lot of information available on the internet about alternative medicines and complementary therapies for different forms of arthritis. Reasoning through the evidence can be difficult. We strongly recommend seeing your doctor to discuss the safety and effectiveness of any therapies before you start treatment. We would tailor that conversation to your particular circumstances and health concerns.

Exercise is a common mainstay of treatment for a number of different types of arthritis. We strongly recommend seeking the advice of a medical professional to assess what exercises are safe for your circumstances. A physiotherapist and/or exercise physiologist also play an important role in advising you on safe exercises.

If you wish to have the cost of your referral significantly reduced by obtaining a rebate from Medicare then you will need a valid referral. Referrals from other specialists are valid for 3 months, while referrals from your GP are valid for 12 months, unless specified otherwise on the referral letter. We prefer that you send the referral ahead of time to confirm your appointment. You can email to info@thearthritisrheum.com.au or your doctor can send the referral to us directly.

Our practice provides comprehensive rheumatological care which comprises careful diagnosis, a tailored management plan and timely follow up of investigation results. We enjoy forming joint care plans with consideration of your specific needs.

Our fees cover not only the healthcare value we provide to you but the costs of delivering this service to you.

Please call (02) 4607 2526 to learn the appropriate fee for your circumstances.

For more details on our fees and services see here. The Australian Medical Association provides a guide to help patients understand how fees are determined for medical services in general in Australia.

With a valid referral and Medicare card you will likely be eligible for a rebate from Medicare to reduce the out of pocket cost for consultations. Please note that private health insurance policies do not apply for clinic appointments. However, if you are having any procedures with our doctors in a private hospital then you may be eligible for rebates from your private health insurance depending on your policy. This can be discussed before confirming any bookings by calling (02) 4607 2526.

Your first visit can take between 30 to 60 minutes depending on the complexity of your issue/s and will involve a comprehensive assessment of your health through history taking and examination. We will then discuss and arrange any investigations that may be required and provide tailored treatment plans in consultation with you.

Follow up visits can take between 15 to 20 minutes and are usually required to follow up previous tests and discuss results. Some conditions require regular monitoring but the frequency of visits can reduce over time as your condition becomes stable.

We strive to be remain on schedule as we respect that your time is valuable and we do not like to keep anyone waiting. Rarely, emergencies and circumstances out of our control can cause delays and we apologise if this ever affects you.

We value your time and endeavour to keep to schedule, barring unforseen emergencies, to ensure you are not left waiting long beyond your appointment time.

You can help by arriving early to your appointment and checking in. If you are more than ten minutes late, your appointment may need to be rescheduled in fairness to other patients and you may be subject to the cancellation policy below.

If you need to cancel your appointment please give us at least 48 hours notice. This gives us sufficient time to allow other patients on the wait list to take your place and not miss out.

If you cancel with less than 48 hours notice you may not be provided with a further appointment.

Please call to discuss if you have any concerns or need to reschedule your appointment (02) 4607 2526