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Dr. Neal Birnbaum

Rheumatology
San Francisco, CA
52 years experience male

Locations

Office

San Francisco, CA

Address

2100 Webster St., Suite 112, San Francisco, CA
Directions

Fax

4157490841

Insurances accepted

Brown & Toland

Blue Shield of California

Aetna Life Insurance Company

UnitedHealthcare

About

Bio

Dr. Neal Birnbaum has practiced rheumatology in San Francisco since 1977. He is past president of the American College of Rheumatology, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, and Director of the Division of Rheumatology at California Pacific Medical Center. ;An Ohio native, Dr.Birnbaum received his BA and MD degrees from The Ohio State University and completed his residency and fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2011, Dr.Birnbaum was named a Master of the American College of Rheumatology in recognition of his contributions to the ACR and the field of rheumatology.

Specialties
Doctors may have more than one area of specialty interest. Board certification in a specialty area means the doctor has completed formal training and has practice experience in that specialty, and has passed the certification examination from the corresponding accredited medical specialty board.

Rheumatology

Doctor Q&A

96 Answers
3 Agrees
The number of answers this doctor has agreed with.
A 47-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
See rheumatologist: Your symptoms could be related to your lupus or you could have a second, unrelated problem. Be sure to see your pcp or rheumatologist promptly for a ... Read More
A 44-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Chronic pain: Fm is a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome. Symptoms include poor sleep, chronic sleep, and widespread pain with tender points. Headaches, irrita... Read More
A 28-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Please : Please don't let your fear of potential side effects get in the way of obtaining proper treatment for your rheumatoid arthritis. Today, there are man... Read More
A 58-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Loss : Loss of a reflex is common and may (or may not) represent a problem such as a pinched nerve (sciatica) in the lower back. However, i know of no assoc... Read More
A 45-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
It's not always easy: Sjogren's syndorme can occur either by itself or in conjunction with other diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Even for a rheumatologist, it... Read More
A 30-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
? Pinched nerve: Hard to make a definite diagnosis on the info provided but suspicious for a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine (sciatica). See a doctor if symptoms do ... Read More
A 40-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Try urgent care: See your pcp or go to urgent care. If they feel you have a needing immediate rheumatologic care, ask them to telephone the rheumatologist and expla... Read More
A 34-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Very few: Short courses of Prednisone or Medrol (methylprednisolone) are commonly used for a a variety of conditions like acute gout, poison oak, and allergic r... Read More
A 29-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
There : There is really not enough information to provide a good answer. There are many possible reasons for swollen legs. While this could be some type of a... Read More
A 61-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
By laboratory tests: The symptoms of a peripheral neuropathy may be very similar, regardless of the cause. Peripheral neuropathy from diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency, or... Read More
A 23-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Yes: Your symptoms don't sound like either mono or lyme disease. I suggest that you start fresh, probably with a new doctor, to find out what is causing y... Read More
A 29-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Very unlikely: Only a few patients with a malar rash on their cheeks have lupus. You have had appropriate laboratory tests and none are suggestive of lupus except t... Read More
A 37-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Ignore: Keep your entire body , not just your hands,warm on cold exposure. Avoid smoking.
A 26-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Rheumatologsit: Your symptoms are non-specific but are certainly suggestive of lupus (sle). While many people with a positive ANA turn out not to have lupus, your cl... Read More
A 20-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Possibly: Being hla b27 positive puts you a risk for having a spondyloarthropathy, a group of inflammatory disorders that can affect the spine but also peripher... Read More
A 40-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
See neurologist: Your neurologic symptoms are concerning, You should see a neurologist to evaluate for multiple sclerosis or other neurologic condition.
A 29-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Take with food: Popping Mobic (meloxicam) or any other NSAID on an empty stomach and then hopping into bed is not a good idea. NSAIDs should be taken with a meal. ... Read More
A 57-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
See rheumatologist: Serologic lab results in patients suspected as having lupus can be tricky to interpret. If you have not done so already, see a rheumatologist for a f... Read More
A 49-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Hopefully: Glad to hear that your RA is much improved. The symptoms that you describe after Humira are very uncommon. I would hope that they will improve over ... Read More
A 29-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Yes. : Yes. I usually start at 15 mg/wk. and increase to 20 mg/wk after six weeks if no response. If there is inadequate response to a total of twelve week... Read More
A 48-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
If : If you have severe arthritis with obvious joint deformities, loss of motion and poor function but have been denied social security disability, i sugge... Read More
A 38-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
In : In most cases, you should be able to call the office of your rheumatologist. If you need to reach the covering physician on a weekend, your doctor's ... Read More
A female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
See a rheumatologist: You should get a referral to a rheumatologist for a consultation--history, physical exam, and additional lab testing. Sounds like you may have lupus o... Read More
A 61-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Get a check up: Fatigue is a very non-specific symptom. See you pcp for a general check up and screening labs. You could have anything from hypothyroidism to fibromya... Read More
A 33-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Probably: Patients with fm will experience pain more intensely and will likely have a longer recovery time than other people. Fm is viewed as a disorder of cen... Read More
A 47-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Sjogren's: The presence of both the ss-a and ss-b antibodies strongly suggests sjogren's syndrome. While dryness of the eyes and mouth is the most common findin... Read More
A 30-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Minimally higher: While patients with adult RA fairly commonly have someone else in the family with RA or lupus, most cases of juvenile inflammatoy arthritis occur spon... Read More
A 30-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Take control of life: Medications may not be the answer for all fm patients. You need to decide who is in charge-- you or the pain. Dealing with stressors, regular low im... Read More
A 40-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Chronic pain: Fibromyalgia (fm) is a chronic musculoskeletal pain problem. While there are no structural or autoimmune abnormalities, fm sufferers have diffuse bod... Read More
A 37-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Ignore: Keep your entire body warm on cold exposure. Wear gloves, socks with closed shoes, and a hat.
A member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Yes, : Yes, gout and gouty arthritis are terms that generally mean the same thing. There are many kinds of arthritis. Gout is one of the most common.
A 34-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Odd symptom: What you are describing sounds unusual. What do you mean by "sick"? Thee are some viruses that can cause joint pain but not usually much swelling. ... Read More
A 39-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Could be a good idea: Because there is a high false positive rate for the ANA (the usual screenign test for lupus), many patients are diagnosed with lupus who don't actuall... Read More
A 32-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Not a problem : There is no disease associated with a low ESR. An elevated ESR is a nonspecific indicator of inflammation. There are many possible of a high ESR--in... Read More
A 29-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Possibly not: Mobic (meloxicam) (and other NSAIDs) can cause gastritis or even gastric ulcers and bleeding. They must be avoided or used with caution in a patient ... Read More
A 33-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Probably not: While many diets and supplements are promoted for osteoarthritis, there is very little scientific evidence to support their use.
A 24-year-old male asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Salivary gland stone: Sounds like you might have a stone or sludge in a salivary gland duct. See an ENT specialist.
A 22-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Primary: Many young women have Raynaud's (blanching of fingers in the cold). The vast majority have primary Raynaud's without an underlying disease. A detaile... Read More
A 25-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Anti-TNF biologic: Humira (adalimumab) is one of five drugs that block a pro-inflammatory protein called tnf that are elevated in diseases like ra, psoriatic arthritis, ... Read More
A 21-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Maybe : At age 21, osteoarthitis is unlikely. Because your father has ra, that might be a possibility in a 21 year old female. If you have morning stiffness... Read More
A 38-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Your : Your story is suspicious for early rheumatoid arthritis, which frequently comes on shortly after the birth of a child. I urge you to see your primary... Read More
A female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
The : The ESR and CRP are both markers of inflammation. However, they are very non-specific and can be elevated in a wide variety of conditions including i... Read More
A 48-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
If : If your pain is severe and your doctor says you have arthritis in your hip on x-ray, then it's time for you to see an orthopedic surgeon. If the diag... Read More
A 40-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Possible bleeding: Aleve (naproxen) can cause bleeding in the stomach that can result in dark or black sticky stools that can resemble tar. Stop the aleve (naproxen) an... Read More
A 44-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Exercise: Most fm patients are deconditioned. Regular, low impact exercise is vital in managing fm. Stress reduction techniques like yoga or meditation in con... Read More
A 32-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Yes: Taking zantac (ranitidine) or similar medicines that reduce acid production in the stomach may actually decrease the risk of inflammation (gastritis) ... Read More
A 53-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Symptoms are real: Fm is a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome. While the pain and fatigue are real, they do not represent a serious, organic disease. Nealry all fm p... Read More
A 23-year-old female asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Probably nothing: Decreased complement levels are seen in patients with active lupus. However, very minor abnormalities occur frequently, even in perfectly healthy ind... Read More
A 46-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Maybe: Some patients with RA may have an elevated WBC count as a manifestation of inflammation. Patients on Prednisone for RA may also show a high wbc, alth... Read More
A 47-year-old member asked:
Dr. Neal Birnbaum
Rheumatology 52 years experience
Sometimes: Methotrexate (mtx) can be taken either orally or by injection. While the pills are more popular, the self-administered injections are cheaper, often ... Read More

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Testimonials
Recommendations and Thank you notes are endorsements given from patients or other doctors.

4
Recommendations
149
Thank you notes
Jul 13, 2013
well respected in the field of rheumatology and is an asset to Healthtap
HealthTap member
Dec 16, 2012
I have been a patient of Dr. Birnbaum for over 10 years and have nothing but the highest respect for him. Dr. Birnbaum is the epitome of what a physician is supposed to be: extremely knowledgeable; ...Read More
HealthTap member
Mar 30, 2015
Dr. Birnbaum is an amazing doctor! #nationaldoctorsday2015 #virtualflower1
HealthTap member
This was very helpful. Thanks! Thank you so much! Been awhile since my wrist pain flared up! Rest and over the counter meds (ice too) seems to be the cure.
HealthTap member
Thank you, your answer was very helpful! Can u pls review my ?. Worried ANA+1:80homo pattern n 1:160centro.Ty.
HealthTap member
This was very helpful. Thanks! Dx SLE but personally feel hash's and have fluctuated thyroid levels?

Education & Training

Medical/Graduate school

Ohio State University College of Medicine
Graduated 1970MD

Residency

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Residency

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Awards

Master of the American College of Rheumatology, American College of Rheumatology
Best Doctors in Bay Area, San Francisco Magazine
Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors in America

Affiliations

American College of Rheumatology
American College of Physicians
San Francisco Medical Society
90,000 U.S. doctors in 147 specialties are here to answer your questions, provide medical advice, write prescriptions, and more.
Answer emailed
in 24 hours or less