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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is rheumatology?



  2. What is fibromyalgia?



  3. What causes fibromyalgia?



  4. Can car accidents cause fibromyalgia?



  5. How do I know if I have arthritis or am I just getting old?



  6. When do I know that I need to see a specialist?



  7. Do I need a referral to see Dr. Romano?



  8. How long does it take to get in to see Dr. Romano?



  9. Is Dr. Romano board certified?



  10. What does board certification mean and why is it important?



  11. Does Dr. Romano evaluate patients from areas other than the Martins Ferry, OH/Wheeling, WV area?



  12. If I am from out of town how difficult is it to find Dr. Romano’s office?



  13. If I have been injured in a traffic accident and require treatment for soft tissue injuries and cannot afford Dr. Romano’s fees can arrangements be made for payment other than at the time of the visit?



  14. Dr Romano does not bill insurance companies. What can I do to get reimbursement for the visits?
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What is rheumatology?

Rheumatology is a medical discipline that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, gout, etc. When patients with musculoskeletal problems need surgery they typically go to an orthopedic surgeon.

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What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic soft tissue rheumatic syndrome consisting of widespread musculoskeletal pain and other symptoms and characterized by the presence of typical tender points in specific anatomic areas. Patients with fibromyalgia often have pain all over their bodies, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and many have become depressed because of their condition.

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What causes fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia can be caused by infections or trauma. Some patients with fibromyalgia cannot point to an inciting incident. The condition tends to be preceded by a deficiency in deep sleep leading to a chronic widespread pain state. When someone gets injured and is in a lot of pain which can interfere with sleep, the ground in fertile for the development of fibromyalgia.

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Can car accidents cause fibromyalgia?

In some cases fibromyalgia can be caused by a motor vehicle accident. Evaluation for the presence or absence of fibromyalgia and whether or not fibromyalgia was caused by a particular inciting even should be done by well qualified physician with experience in the field. Fibromyalgia does not come on instantly after a car wreck, but rather it evolves into a chronic widepsread pain state over weeks or months.

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How do I know if I have arthritis or am I just getting old?

Arthritis encompasses a group of diseases that cause joint pain but may also signal that the patient has a serious medical problem. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and typically occurs in older individuals, although younger individuals who have injured joints may also be affected. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand is a systemic inflammatory connective tissue disease. The joint pain and swelling in rheumatoid arthritis may simply be the tip of the iceberg. Other organ systems such as the lungs, the skin and even the eyes may be affected. Normal ageing should not be accompanied by severe pain. Pain is typically a signal that something is wrong with a portion of the body and should be assessed by a competent professional.

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When do I know that I need to see a specialist?

Typically when the best efforts of a patient’s primary care doctor are insufficient to control the patient’s medical problems, a specialty consultation should be sought. No doctor can know every aspect of every speciality. When patients have complex and/or severe problems which are not controlled, a referral to specialist is usually a wise move.

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Do I need a referral to see Dr. Romano?

No. A referral is not necessary, but it would be helpful if prior to the scheduled visit the patient would forward a copy of recent medical records so Dr. Romano would have a frame of reference from which to evaluate the patient.

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How long does it take to get in to see Dr. Romano?

Typically the waiting period for a new patient appointment is less than one month. Please contact our office for more details. Of course, in unusual circumstances or emergencies, other arrangements can be made.

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Is Dr. Romano board certified?

Yes, Dr. Romano is board certified in internal medicine and in rheumatology and is a diplomate of the American Academy of Pain Management. Dr. Romano became board certified in internal medicine in 1980 and in rheumatology in 1982. He became a diplomate of The American Academy of Pain Management in 1989.

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What does board certification mean and why is it important?

Board certification is an acknowledgement from leaders in a particular field that the physician in question has demonstrated knowledge and expertise above and beyond that necessary simply to hold a medical license. In order for a physician to be board certified in internal medicine, for example, a physician needs to complete an accredited internal medicine program and then be given permission to sit for a written examination. If a physician passes the examination then he is granted board certification. In Dr. Romano’s case he was given permission for and sat for the internal medicine board examination and passed the first time. He became board certified in internal medicine in 1980. He was given permission to sit for the rheumatology board examination after completing a two year fellowship in rheumatology. He passed the examination the first time and became board certified in rheumatology in 1982. Dr. Romano recommends that, if at all possible, if a patient wants a rheumatological evaluation that that patient inquire a physician’s board certification or lack of it.

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Does Dr. Romano evaluate patients from areas other than the Martins Ferry, OH/Wheeling, WV area?

Yes. Dr. Romano has evaluated patients from many other areas, particularly those who require his expertise in fibromyalgia, chronic pain management, or medical/legal matters. Dr. Romano sees patients from localities far distant from the upper Ohio Valley for both evaluation and/or treatment.

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If I am from out of town how difficult is it to find Dr. Romano’s office?

Martins Ferry, Ohio is located in eastern Ohio, right across the Ohio river from Wheeling, WV. It is near Interstate 70 and is approximately one hour from the Pittsburgh, PA International Airport. Frequently patients from out of town will fly into the Pittsburgh airport and rent a car and drive to my office. Often they stay overnight in one of the local motels and fly back home the next day. Please call our office for directions if interested.

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If I have been injured in a traffic accident and require treatment for soft tissue injuries and cannot afford Dr. Romano’s fees can arrangements be made for payment other than at the time of the visit?

Yes. Dr. Romano accepts letters of protection from most attorneys so that patients who are otherwise unable to be treated for their injuries due to financial hardship can get the benefit of the state-of-the-art pain management. If interested please call the office for details.

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Dr Romano does not bill insurance companies. What can I do to get reimbursement for the visits?

A receipt is given after each visit which has information necessary for the patient to submit his own claims. Many of Dr. Romano’s patients have been able to get at least part of the bill reimbursed. However insurance policies vary and you should check with your carrier.

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Copyright © 2012 Thomas J. Romano, M.D., Ph.D. FACP FACR
205 North 5th Street - Martins Ferry, OH 43935