You Might Need To See A Rheumatologist For Joint Pain If:
- You have joint pain all over or pain in multiple joints
- Youre experiencing new joint pain that isnt associated with an injury
- You have joint pain and psoriasis
- You have joint pain and morning stiffness that includes fever, fatigue, chest pain or a rash
- Youve experienced unexplained, ongoing symptoms including fever, sweats or weight loss
- You are experiencing joint pain after a tick bite
Orthopedic specialists, also called orthopaedic doctors or orthopaedic surgeons, also treat the musculoskeletal system, which is why it can be unclear which doctor to see for joint pain. Orthopeaedic doctors, however, focus on bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, as well as the conditions that affect them.
Role Of The Primary Care Doctor
Your primary care doctor will able to make an initial assessment following a physical examination. They can order X-rays, blood tests, or any other diagnostic tests needed to support his initial assessment. Your primary care doctor can also prescribe medications to relieve pain and other arthritis symptoms.
After test results come back and enough time has passed to evaluate how you are doing on the prescribed medications, your healthcare provider may decide that they can handle your case. If not, they may decide to refer you to a specialist in arthritis diseases known as a rheumatologist.
You Might Need To See An Orthopedic Specialist For Joint Pain If:
- You have joint pain that started after an injury
- Your joint pain is so severe it is limiting function or daily activities
- You have moderate to advanced arthritis
- Your hip or knee pain has become progressively worse and worse while bearing weight
- Your previous or current treatment for joint pain was unsuccessful
If you are experiencing joint pain and have questions about what doctor you should see for treatment, please feel free to contact us. Wed be happy to help point you in the right direction for proper treatment.
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A Rheumatologist May Change Your Diagnosis Along The Way
The diagnosis your primary care doctor has in mind may not be what your rheumatologist determines. Whats more, because there are lots of overlapping diseases and diseases with similar symptoms, your diagnosis may change months or years later if you develop a new symptom.
This probably happens more frequently in rheumatology than in other specialties like endocrinology. Its pretty easy to make a diagnosis of diabetes, but in rheumatology many diseases dont have blood tests that make the diagnosis. A positive blood test for rheumatoid factor doesnt necessarily mean you have RA, and you can have RA with a negative blood test. It can be frustrating but things arent always clear, and they do change over time, says Dr. Fraenkel, who also directs Patient-Centered Population Health Services at Berkshire Health Systems.
What Kind Of Doctor Should Diagnose Arthritis
If youve been suffering from pain, stiffness, and/or swelling in one or more of your joints, an orthopedic surgeon will be able to efficiently make a diagnosis of arthritis or another condition. This doctor will review your medical history, listen to the specific symptoms youve been experiencing, consider the medications youre currently taking, and perform a comprehensive physical exam to derive a diagnosis.
The doctor may order blood tests or imaging tests to determine an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes, a sample of fluid is taken from a joint for analysis.
An orthopedic surgeon is well-versed in distinguishing between the various types of arthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, and they all warrant different treatments so you will want an experienced orthopedist to be the one to diagnose and treat your condition so you can enjoy effective and long-lasting relief. Other types of doctors may just assume that you have osteoarthritis, but treatment for this type is not always effective for other types of arthritis.
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Your Arthritis Health Care Team
Treating arthritis may require a variety of health professionals.
Primary Care Physician RheumatologistDoctor of Osteopathic MedicineOrthopaedic Surgeon ChiropractorDermatologistNeurologist Nurse Nurse PractitionerOccupational Therapist OphthalmologistPain Specialist Pharmacist Psychiatrist Psychologist PhysiatristPhysical TherapistPhysician Assistant Podiatrist Registered Dietician Sleep Specialist
Who Should Diagnose And Treat Ra
A doctor or a team of doctors who specialize in care of RA patients should diagnose and treat RA. This is especially important because the signs and symptoms of RA are not specific and can look like signs and symptoms of other inflammatory joint diseases. Doctors who specialize in arthritis are called rheumatologists, and they can make the correct diagnosis. To find a provider near you, visit the database of rheumatologistsexternal icon on the American College of Rheumatology website.
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Should You See A Rheumatologist For Osteoarthritis
7 Signs That You Need Specialist Care
Osteoarthritis can often be managed under the care of a general physician. However, if your condition is severe, you might need to see a specialist.
Whether or not you need a specialist depends on the stage of your disease and how typical your case may be. The following insights should help you decide.
What About Medicare And Medicaid
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for adults over the age of 65, as well as some other younger groups with specific chronic health conditions. People with Medicare often have either:
- Original Medicare .Part B is the outpatient medical insurance portion of original Medicare. It covers nonhospital based medical services that are considered necessary to diagnose or treat a specific condition.
- Medicare Advantage .Part C plans are offered by private insurance companies. Advantage plans are required to cover the same basic benefits as original Medicare but may also offer additional benefits.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides assistance with healthcare costs to those with lower incomes or resources. Eligibility and what exactly is covered varies from state to state.
Some research, both , has indicated that people with Medicare or Medicaid may have trouble accessing timely orthopedic care.
However, there are tools you can use to find doctors that accept these programs:
- For Medicare. Use the Physician Compare tool. This allows you to input a variety of information in order to find doctors in your area that accept Medicare.
- For Medicaid. Contact your states Medicaid office to find out which doctors in your state accept Medicaid.
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Whats The Outlook For Someone Living With Arthritis
Since theres no cure for arthritis, most people need to manage arthritis for the rest of their lives. Your healthcare provider can help you find the right combination of treatments to reduce symptoms. One of the biggest health risks associated with arthritis is inactivity. If you become sedentary from joint pain, you may face a greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other serious conditions.
Do You Need To See An Orthopedic Physician Or A Rheumatologist
Patients should use the guidelines below to help determine if they should choose an orthopedic physician or rheumatologist for their arthritis and joint pain.
Patients might need an orthopedic physician if they have:
- Joint or musculoskeletal pain that began after an injury
- Gradually progressive hip or knee pain that is worse with weight bearing
- Joint pain that is severe and interfering with function
- Moderate or advanced arthritis of the knee or hip
- Previous unsuccessful treatment for joint pain
- Been told by their doctor they might need a joint replacement
Patients might need a rheumatologist if they have:
- Pain involving many joints
- New joint pain not associated with any injury
- Joint or musculoskeletal pain associated with morning stiffness, fever, fatigue, rash or chest pain
- Joint pain that followed a tick bite
- Joint pain associated with back pain
- Joint pain and psoriasis
- Muscular pain with or without any other symptoms
- New headaches or muscle aches and are over the age of 50
- Back pain with or without pain in the legs
- Unexplained, ongoing symptoms such as fever, sweats or weight loss
A patients’ medical needs are important and unique, that is why UMass Memorial Medical Center offers specialty trained physicians that have devoted their education and career to treating specific medical conditions to serve you.
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Why Go To A Hand Specialist For Arthritis
Painful and swollen hands are the first signs of arthritis. Arthritis can affect any part of your body, even the joints in your hands. It can make simple tasks like holding up a glass or mug, brushing your teeth, or turning a doorknob difficult.
While there is no cure for arthritis, you can manage symptoms and slow down the degeneration of your joints. Arthritis sufferers who get treatment and guidance from orthopedic doctors can live normal lives despite their condition.
An orthopedic hand specialist is trained and knowledgeable in various treatments that can ease the symptoms of arthritis in the hands and wrists. A hand specialist who is also a hand surgeon can perform surgical procedures that can help repair damaged joints and tendons in the hand due to arthritis.
Are Orthopaedic Doctors Familiar With Psoriatic Arthritis
Yes! While psoriatic arthritis affects the skin, it can also affect the joints. Orthopaedic doctors are very familiar with the condition as well as how to properly treat it.
If you are suffering from arthritis, contact the Connecticut orthopedics specialists at Valley Orthopaedic Specialists for more information on what other steps we can take together to manage your symptoms. We have specialized orthopaedic doctors whom arthritis patients trust to treat mild to severe arthritis. Our arthritis consultants are here to help!
Our practice is dedicated to treating you with the highest of care. Our highly-trained staff makes a special effort to ensure that your office and surgery experience are as pleasant as possible.
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How To Find An Orthopedic Doctor
If you need to see an orthopedic doctor, these are a few steps you can take:
- Talk to your primary care doctor. Your primary care doctor may be able to recommend or refer you to an orthopedic surgeon in your area.
- Search online. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has an online search tool that can help you find an orthopedic doctor near you.
- Ask a friend or family member. If someone close to you has had a similar condition, they may be able to recommend an orthopedic surgeon that they had a good experience with.
- Read online reviews or use social media. Online reviews may provide you with some insight into the orthopedic surgeons training, abilities, and success with treating various conditions. Reaching out on neighborhood apps or social media may also help you find a doctor whos a good fit for you.
You can connect with an orthopedic doctor in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
While looking for an orthopedic doctor, youll want to know if theyre covered under your insurance. If they arent, you may end up paying out-of-pocket costs that you didnt plan for.
Often, insurance will cover care thats considered medically necessary to diagnose or treat a specific condition.
However, its always a good idea to contact your insurance company to learn more about whats covered before visiting an orthopedic doctor.
What Do Orthopedics Doctors Do
Orthopedists are specialists in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues. These specialists are trained in diagnosing and treating bone and joint disease and injuries, which may involve orthopedic surgery. Your primary care provider is likely to refer you to an orthopedist if you have joint or musculoskeletal pain from a previous injury. A primary care provider may also refer you to an orthopedic surgeon if they suspect youll need surgical treatment to correct joint pain, such as a total knee or hip replacement.
Orthopedists often treat conditions such as osteoarthritis , nerve pain, sports injuries, herniated discs, osteoporosis, and many other conditions. Although orthopedics involves surgical correction of many musculoskeletal problems, being referred to an orthopedic surgeon doesnt necessarily mean you will absolutely need surgery to correct your joint pain or injury.
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These Doctors May Be Your Doctor For Life
Some specialists consult on your diagnosis and treatment plan, then send you back to your primary care doctor for most follow-up care. Not true for rheumatologists.
After making sure we have the right diagnosis, we obtain the appropriate lab work to make sure youre safe starting medication, and then see you every two to three months. Some people require less frequent follow-up, but we typically see patients more than their primary care doctors. In fact, we might become their primary care doctors, says rheumatologist Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, adjunct professor of medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Should You See An Orthopedic Specialist For Arthritis
Seeing an orthopedic specialist may be a good idea when your symptoms become uncomfortable or affect your ability to do your regular activities.
After carefully reviewing your symptoms, medical history, and concerns, an orthopedic specialist will perform a physical examination and arrange for diagnostic testing to determine the cause of your pain and stiffness. Even patients with a current arthritis diagnosis can benefit from seeing an orthopedic specialist for symptom and disease management and treatments.
Production In Lightning And Laboratory Discharges
X-rays are also produced in lightning accompanying . The underlying mechanism is the acceleration of electrons in lightning related electric fields and the subsequent production of photons through . This produces photons with energies of some few and several tens of MeV. In laboratory discharges with a gap size of approximately 1 meter length and a peak voltage of 1 MV, X-rays with a characteristic energy of 160 keV are observed. A possible explanation is the encounter of two and the production of high-energy however, microscopic simulations have shown that the duration of electric field enhancement between two streamers is too short to produce a significant number of run-away electrons. Recently, it has been proposed that air perturbations in the vicinity of streamers can facilitate the production of run-away electrons and hence of X-rays from discharges.
X-ray detectors vary in shape and function depending on their purpose. Imaging detectors such as those used for were originally based on and later , but are now mostly replaced by various detector types such as and . For direct exposure hazard is often evaluated using , while are used to measure the a person has been exposed to. X-ray can be measured either by energy dispersive or wavelength dispersive . For applications, such as , are widely used.
is commonly used in the diagnoses of common oral problems, such as .
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What Conditions Does A Rheumatologist Treat
Rheumatologists can treat more than 100 rheumatic diseases. Some of the more common ones are:
- Reactive arthritis
Although many doctors who practice rheumatology are trained to treat different symptoms, some focus on specific subsets. For example, pediatric rheumatologists are trained to treat children under 18 years old because their bodies are quite different from those of adults.
Rheumatologist Vs Orthopedist: What Kind Of Doctor For Joint Pain Is Right For You
Youve been dealing with joint pain all over for as long as you can remember.
You suddenly started feeling a sharp pain in one of your joints.
Your joints ache when it rains or the weather changes.
Your joint never felt quite the same after that one injury now you live with constant, nagging pain.
Your joint pain is so severe, it keeps you up at night.
Any of these sound familiar?
If so, its probably time to see a joint specialist. Before you book an appointment with a rheumatologist or orthopedic specialist, though, you should first see your primary care physician for a general diagnosis. Even though some insurance providers dont require a referral from a PCP to see a joint specialist, your PCP may recommend a completely different type of joint specialist than you might have consulted otherwise. Your PCP should be able to point you in the right direction based on your symptoms.
That said, its understandable that you want to be as informed as possible about your choice of doctor. The following information will give you a better idea about joint paint, its causes and what kind of doctor for joint pain may be right for you.
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Reasons To See A Rheumatologist
Almost everyone has some pain in the muscles or joints from time to time. But if it lasts days or more, it might be a good idea to visit a rheumatologist.
It can be hard to diagnose some rheumatic diseases in the early stages. But some of these conditions respond best to early care, so itâs better to see a specialist sooner rather than later. Without treatment, they may lead to joint damage.
Itâs also good to see a rheumatologist if you notice symptoms of autoimmune or rheumatic disease and you have a family history of these conditions.