Which Type Of Doctor Should I See For My Rheumatoid Arthritis
Most people with RA are treated by either an internist or a rheumatologist. Who you choose to be your treating physician depends on many factors:
Most people with RA are treated by either an internist or a rheumatologist.
The doctors training and experience
His or her board certification
The proximity of the physicians office to your home
Whether the physician participates in your insurance plan
The doctors reputation in the community
Your ability to build a trusting relationship with the physician
The doctors ability to speak your native language or understand your culture and customs
While many of these issues do not necessarily bear directly on a doctors knowledge or clinical abilities, patients often choose a doctor based on what is most important to them. The issue of which type of doctor a patient with RA should see for treatment has been examined in the medical literature, and differences in care and in the outcomes of patients have been noted.
Tumor necrosis factor
A protein that plays an early and major role in the rheumatic disease process.
The more intensive level of care rendered by rheumatologists may result in improved symptoms and fewer visits to the hospital for patients with RA. Not surprisingly, however, this more intensive management leads to significantly higher costs than the costs for patients who are treated by internists.
Learn About The Different Back Pain Specialists
When a back problem occurs, itâs typically a good idea to first consult with a primary care physician. This doctor will conduct an initial exam and, depending on the findings, he or she may refer you to a spine specialist.
If you are referred to a specialist for chronic back pain, it will likely be to one of the following:
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.
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Do You Have Joint Pain We Can Help
At Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, we understand how chronic pain is disruptive to your quality of life. At our practice, we can help you find the relief you crave from your joint pain, sports injuries, or other orthopedic concerns. If youve sustained disability or suffer from pain from arthritis, body trauma, an injury accident, or something similar, our orthopedics treatments can help.
For more information or to schedule a consultation at Orthopedic Specialists of Southwest Florida, please call 215-2008 today or reach out online to book an appointment.
Is It Possible To Have Surgery For Arthritis
Many people with arthritis have constant pain. Some of this pain can be relieved by rest, heat and cold treatments, exercise, splints, and medication. When these therapies dont lessen the pain, surgery may be considered. Possible Benefits of Surgery Arthritis is usually a chronic condition and sometimes can lead to disability.
repairs or reconstructions to tendons or ligaments. Most people with arthritis wont need surgery, and being referred to an orthopaedic surgeon doesnt mean that youll definitely have orthopaedic surgery. Youll always have the final decision on whether to go ahead with surgery or not.
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose Arthritis
There are three different types of tests used to diagnose arthritis inpatients. Based on the symptoms the diagnose differs.
How Arthritis In The Hands Is Treated
If youre diagnosed with an inflammatory form of arthritis, you have more treatment options than someone with OA. While nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage the pain of both types of arthritis, the development of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs and biologics has vastly improved the prognosis of those with inflammatory forms of arthritis by reducing inflammation and preventing further joint damage.
Cortisone injections can be useful for those with OA and conditions such as RA, though theyre usually used in patients whose inflammatory arthritis is limited to just one or two joints, Dr. Byram says. Injections of hyaluronic acid can be helpful for those with OA , but these are better for managing pain in larger joints like the knees rather than the hands.
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Points To Remember About Arthritis
- “Arthritis” means joint inflammation. Although joint inflammation is a symptom or sign rather than a specific diagnosis, the term arthritis is often used to refer to any disorder that affects the joints.
- There are many types of arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, gout, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Medications and surgery can treat arthritis.
- Activities that can help reduce symptoms at home include exercise hot and cold therapies relaxation therapies splints and braces and assistive devices.
When You Know You Have The Right Match
Traci Lynn Martin, a neonatal ICU nurse and expedition kayaker from Lees Summit, Missouri, found out she had rheumatoid arthritis, she went to a few rheumatologists before she found the right chemistry.
The first person I saw I didnt like, Martin says, because I didnt feel like he was listening to me. He had a formula with questions and it wasnt personalized. It was important for me to stay active, to be able to do my triathlons, and long distance kayaking that I had done my whole life.
Friends referred her to other specialists, but she knew right away when she found the right rheumatologist. He sits down and doesnt rush in and out and doesnt leave the room until I am happy, Martin says. I walked out of there so happy after the first visit, I felt like I had someone who was listening to me for the first time since my diagnosis.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Spine Diagnosed
The best way to confirm a diagnosis of osteoarthritis is by X-ray. The doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam to see if the person has pain, tenderness, loss of motion involving the neck or lower back, or if symptoms are suggestive, signs of nerve involvement such as weakness, reflex changes, or loss of sensation.
The doctor may order certain tests to aid in the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the spine. These tests include:
- X-rays to look for bone damage, bone spurs, and loss of cartilage or disc however, X-rays are not able to show early damage to cartilage.
- Blood tests to exclude other diseases
- Magnetic resonance imaging to show possible damage to discs or narrowing of areas where spinal nerves exit
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Arthritis Doctors In Reno Nv
If youre in need of treatment in Reno, Nevada, or the surrounding area, turn to the trusted arthritis doctors at Tahoe Fracture & Orthopedic Medical Clinic. The skilled orthopedists on our team have experience treating a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, and they can help put you on the path toward relief. Contact us today or make an appointment using our online scheduling tool.
Whether youre a new or returning patient, you can request an appointment by completing our simple online form. Well get back to you within 48 hours.
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You Can Have Psoriasis And A Different Kind Of Arthritis That Is Not Psa
People with psoriasis can develop different types of arthritis including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis, and reactive arthritis so diagnosing PsA involves ruling out those other conditions.
Its often difficult to say in a first visit whether a patient definitely has psoriatic arthritis or another type of arthritis that just co-exists with psoriasis, says Dr. Kumar. PsA can take a long time to diagnose because a patient can delay seeing the doctor, then confirming PsA can require multiple labs and imaging tests.
The good news is that the diagnosis process for psoriatic arthritis is improving. Whereas PsA wasnt even recognized as a distinct condition decades ago , doctors are now better equipped with improved lab tests and imaging studies that help identify this disease so more patients can find relief.
Physical Exam For Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis
The next step in diagnosing psoriatic arthritis is a thorough physical exam, which can involve a number of steps, including the following:
- Looking for signs of psoriasis in usual spots such as elbows and knees, as well as less visible places including the scalp, belly button, intergluteal cleft , palms of hands, and soles of feet
- Checking the nails of fingers and toes for abnormalities
- Applying pressure to joints for tenderness and swelling, as well as looking for redness
- Checking for tendon and ligament issues, including plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis
- Checking for back mobility
- Checking for pain and inflammation along the sacroiliac joints, which is where the spine connects with your pelvis
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Do I Need To Go To A Rheumatologist Or An Orthopedist
With so much overlap between medical disciplines and specializations, it is often difficult for an individual to discern which type of doctor to see for their problem.
This is especially true for orthopedics and rheumatology, as both of these types of physicians treat joint pain.
Orthopedists are surgeons who address bone and joint diseases and injuries, such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, and body trauma. Rheumatologists are internal medicine physicians who focus on autoimmune conditions and the non-surgical treatment of such diseases, such as arthritis, where medications and/or physical therapy can provide the proper treatment.
It is important to understand the areas these two specialties cover in order to make an informed decision.
Hand Surgeon In San Antonio Texas
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our hand surgery team diagnoses and treats a broad range of hand injuries and conditions, including arthritis.
Our extensive education and training enable us to treat the most complex hand issues. For any type of hand or wrist pain and injury, call the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at 692-7400 or request an appointment now. We are happy to provide you the highest quality care for your hand condition.
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When Should You See A Rheumatologist
Muscle and joint pain are not uncommon, but if you have pain that lasts for more than a few days, visit your primary care physician.
Your doctor can evaluate whether youre experiencing temporary pain from an injury or other inflammatory causes, or if an underlying rheumatic condition may be involved that requires a referral to a rheumatologist.
If the pain youre experiencing gets worse over a short period of time, thats a good indicator that you should see a rheumatologist.
Likewise, if your symptoms decrease with initial treatment, like pain medication, but return once the treatment stops, it may be time to seek out a specialist.
You may want to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist if you:
- experience pain in multiple joints
- have new joint pain thats not related to a known injury
- have joint or muscle pain accompanied by fever, fatigue, rashes, morning stiffness, or chest pain
- have muscle pain with or without other symptoms
- are over age 50 and have recurring headaches or muscle aches
Many rheumatic conditions are hereditary, so you should also let your doctor and rheumatologist know if you have any family history of autoimmune or rheumatic disease.
If you have persistent joint, bone, or muscle pain, dont delay seeking treatment. Joint stiffness that lasts more than 30 minutes, especially if its worse in the morning after long periods of inactivity, or any joint swelling should also be promptly evaluated by a doctor.
Delays In Getting Diagnosed With Psoriatic Arthritis Are All Too Common Knowing What To Expect May Help Speed Up The Process
If your shoes are feeling tighter than usual or youre having difficulty or pain opening jars, a type of autoimmune disorder called psoriatic arthritis could be to blame. PsA is an inflammatory arthritis linked to psoriasis . It is characterized by pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints although these general arthritis symptoms can take on specific characteristics when they are caused by psoriatic arthritis
As with many conditions, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are important. If you put off seeing the doctor, there are two major concerns with a delayed psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, says Bharat Kumar, MD, Associate Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director at University of Iowa Health Care and member of the American College of Rheumatology.
First, he explains, disease activity may worsen and cause lasting joint damage. Second, PsA is linked to a higher rate of heart disease, so the sooner youre diagnosed the quicker you can address cardiovascular factors like high cholesterol and hypertension. Rheumatologists are eager to see anyone with psoriasis who is also experiencing joint pain, Dr. Kumar says.
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Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of spinal arthritis. It usually affects the lower back and develops through wear and tear. As the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Because the pain is from mechanical damage, it is typically more noticeable when you bend or twist your back. Past back injuries may also contribute to the development of degenerative arthritis of the spine.
Osteoarthritis of the spine usually affects the facet joints between the vertebrae. It is also known as facet joint arthritis, facet joint syndrome and facet disease. In some cases, degeneration of the spinal discs may contribute to facet joint arthritis. As discs between the vertebrae become thinner, more pressure is transferred to the facet joints. This leads to more friction and more damage to the cartilage.
When these degenerative changes occur in the neck, this condition is called cervical spondylosis. Arthritis in the neck doesnÃ¢t always cause pain, and many people have no noticeable symptoms.
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Other Conditions And Joint Pain
Other forms of arthritis, and other conditions, can also cause joint pain. Examples include:
- fibromyalgia syndrome, a condition in which your brain processes pain in your muscles and joints in a way that amplifies your perception of the pain
- scleroderma, an autoimmune condition in which inflammation and hardening in your skin connective tissues can lead to organ damage and joint pain
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Causes Of Spinal Arthritis
Spinal arthritis is typically the result of years of wear and tear that has caused deterioration of the joints and cartilage along the spine. Regrettably, we still do not know exactly why this happens. Even those who have taken good care of themselves are at risk of developing osteoarthritis of the spine.
However, there are several risk factors that may make you more susceptible to spinal arthritis:
- Spinal trauma or injury
- Other conditions such as diabetes, Lyme disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gout, psoriasis, or tuberculosis
How To Tell If You Have Back Or Neck Arthritis
Although back pain is a common symptom, not all people have it, even those with advanced spinal arthritis. On the other hand, some may experience pain even before arthritis can be seen on an X-ray. In certain types of spondyloarthritis, eye inflammation may occur, causing pain, watery eyes and blurred vision.
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Can An Internal Medicine Doctor Care For My Arthritis
If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, and swelling in your fingers, hands, wrists, hips, knees, or ankles, it may be arthritis. You should consult with a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for arthritis. However, working closely with your doctor and following an appropriate treatment plan can help you control your symptoms and live a happy, active, and worthwhile life. The question is: which doctor should you see for arthritis?
If you have arthritis, you have a few choices when it comes to choosing a doctor for treatment. Orthopedic physicians can treat arthritis because they are specialists in the bodys musculoskeletal system. Another choice is to see an internal medicine doctor. Internal medicine doctors diagnose, treat, and prevent all types of diseases and conditions in adults, including arthritis.
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Complete Medical History For Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis
Your road to a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis starts with talking to your rheumatologist in order to share symptoms and identify risk factors. While symptoms like joint pain could suggest a number of conditions, in psoriatic arthritis, joint pain often has specific characteristics, including the following:
- Joint pain that gets better with use
- Joint redness and swelling
- Swelling of an entire finger or toe as opposed to just one joint, called dactylitis or sausage digits
- Morning stiffness that lasts more than 30 minutes
- Changes in the nails of your fingers or toes, such as holes, pitting, discoloration or softness, which occurs in 80 to 90 percent of PsA cases
When patients talk about these psoriatic arthritis symptoms, rheumatologists like Dr. Kumar hear a number of common concerns, such as My shoes dont fit, I feel stiff all over in the mornings, and I have trouble opening jars or door knobs.
Along with listening to your symptoms, your rheumatologist will want to hear about any possible risk factors for psoriatic arthritis. While this condition can affect patients of both genders at a range of ages, the following can increase your risk:
- Having psoriasis
- Having a family history of PsA, psoriasis, or associated conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis, Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune uveitis, and reactive arthritis
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