Arthritis Treatment In Orthopedic Clinics
There are a lot of the ways doctors at orthopedic clinics work together to find you relief. Here are some of the treatments that are used to treat arthritis symptoms and slow the conditions progression. Most patients require a combination of at least 2 of these treatments for effective and long-term results.
A Rheumatologist Never Stops Learning About Ra
To maintain their specialty board certification, rheumatologists must keep up with new developments in their field. They must complete continuing education and renew their license every few years, depending on the state in which they practice and other factors. By following these requirements, board-certified rheumatologists stay on top of new treatments and discoveries about the mechanisms involved in RA, so they can then provide their patients with insightful, informed, and up-to-date treatment plans.
How Might Doctors Treat Arthritis In Hands
Doctors generally start with treatments that dont involve surgery to treat arthritis in the hand, reports the American Society for Surgery of the Hand . Temporarily resting the joint, and using a splint to help keep it in place might help. Exercising the joint is important, so your doctor might prescribe physical therapy.
Doctors might treat rheumatoid arthritis in the hand with medications. Steroid injections from time to time may provide relief from either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the hand, according to the ASSH.
In some cases, you might need surgery to treat the arthritis in your hands, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. There are various types of surgery, such as fusion and joint replacement with an artificial joint. Fusion involves removing damaged joint surfaces and cartilage, and attaching one bone to another. You will no longer be able to move the fused joint, but your pain should be gone, according to the ASSH.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Find Out If You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
Why The First Rheumatologist Appointment Matters
The process of diagnosis is often a scary, worrisome time. However, the good news is that there are a wide variety of treatment options available should your rheumatologist diagnose you with rheumatoid arthritis. While it is a chronic condition without a cure, many patients are able to find treatment options that significantly decrease their symptoms. The first step to appropriate treatment is getting an accurate diagnosis, and a rheumatologist is critically important to that process.
Read Also: Rheumatoid Arthritis Remission Naturally
What To Expect From A First Visit
A routine appointment with a rheumatologist varies depending on the condition or complaint they are helping to treat. A standard appointment may involve a rheumatologist:
- reviewing a persons medical and family histories, as well as the results of any previous testing or laboratory work
- performing a physical exam to look for any signs of systemic inflammation
- evaluating posture, movement, and flexibility
- examining any specific joints, muscles, or bones that feel swollen, stiff, or painful
- asking questions about other related symptoms that a person may be experiencing
- ordering blood work or other laboratory tests, such as an X-ray or MRI scan, to provide a clinical diagnosis
- making treatment recommendations or waiting to review the lab work before recommending medications or physical therapy
- providing a clinical outlook, plans of care, and short- and long-term goals
Recommended Reading: How Much Cherry Juice For Arthritis
Causes Of Spinal Spondylosis
Spondylosis most commonly occurs as a result of the day-to-day stress and strain over time on the body. As you age, your joints and spine structures are degenerating. Spondylosis affects the lumbar spine more frequently than it affects the cervical or thoracic spine.
Conditions associated with arthritis in the spine include:
- Herniated or bulging discs
Younger people can develop spinal osteoarthritis from:
- Genetic defects that involve the cartilage
- Injury to a joint in the spine
Also Check: How Does Methotrexate Help Rheumatoid Arthritis
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
Also Check: What Is Better For Arthritis Aleve Or Advil
Expect Ups And Downs With Arthritis
Pain is an unwelcome intruder on normal daily activities. Every person diagnosed with arthritis hopes that treatment will quickly gain control over the disease. And not only do people with arthritis hope to gain control of their condition but they hope to maintain that control. The truth is that the usual course of arthritis is fraught with ups and downs. Like many chronic health conditions, it can feel like a roller coaster.
Even with treatment, you should expect both good days and bad days with arthritis. Some people find that the ups and downs, a major part of dealing with arthritis, are the most difficult aspect. If possible, prepare for those ups and downs by building flexibility into your life.
Some people find it helpful to list out ways to adapt to unforeseen circumstances ahead of time, and there are even retreats focused on resilience training to help those coping with chronic medical conditions.
What Do Rheumatology Doctors Do
Rheumatologists are experts in the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune disorders. These conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, involve the patients immune system attacking its own healthy body tissue rather than invading external disease agents. Your primary care provider may refer you to a rheumatologist if you experience joint pain, especially if there was no prior injury. If your joint pain is accompanied by fatigue, fever, rash, or stiffness, it could also indicate an inflammatory disorder. Sometimes abnormal blood test results can also indicate a rheumatic illness.
What Conditions Does a Rheumatologist Treat?
Rheumatologists specialize in treating arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions, and autoimmune diseases. There are countless conditions that impact the joints, bones, ligaments, and various other tissues. It’s common for rheumatic conditions to be difficult to diagnose, so rheumatologists use their expertise to both diagnose and treat patients.
Here are a few common conditions that rheumatologists treat however, this list is certainly not comprehensive:
- And several more
Don’t Miss: Are Carrots Good For Arthritis
Routine Monitoring And Ongoing Care
Regular medical care is important because your doctor can:
- Monitor how the disease is progressing.
- Determine how well the medications are working.
- Talk to you about any side the effects from the medications.
- Adjust your treatment as needed.
Monitoring typically includes regular visits to the doctor. It also may include blood and urine tests, and xrays. Having rheumatoid arthritis increases your risk of developing osteoporosis, particularly if you take corticosteroids. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that causes the bones to weaken and easily break. Talk to your doctor about your risk for the disease and the potential benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplements or other osteoporosis treatments.
What To Look For In A Health Professional
- Experience treating your condition. The more experience your doctor has with your condition, generally, the more adept he will be at recognizing and treating it. For example, a doctor who has little experience with fibromyalgia might not be as quick to make a diagnosis and prescribe effective treatment as one whos spent a lot of time with such patients.
- Up-to-date knowledge. Arthritis research advances continuously. Make sure your doctor is on top of the latest studies so he can provide the best care.
- Accessibility. A doctor who cant see you for weeks or return calls when youre in the midst of a medication reaction or a flare can make you feel like a second-rate patient.
- Willingness to fight. A good doctor will go to bat for you with your insurance company if they dont want to cover a specialist referral, surgical procedure or prescribed medication.
- A solid office staff. Your doctor may be wonderful, but if her staff loses your phone messages, deletes your e-mail, fails to do what they say they will or treats you rudely when you call or visit, consider looking elsewhere.
Also Check: What Makes Arthritis Flare Up
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.
Interventional Pain Management Specialists Located In Dublin Oh
More than 23% of American adults are living with arthritis thats approximately 54 million people. Unfortunately, half of those people also experience mobility issues. If you are one of those individuals, dont hesitate to seek professional medical treatment. At Spine Care Specialists, LLC, in Dublin, Ohio, interventional pain management specialists regularly diagnose and treat arthritis. If you are interested in learning more, make an appointment by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool today.
Recommended Reading: How Can You Stop Arthritis In Your Hands
Also Check: Is Magnesium Oil Good For Arthritis
Possible Benefits Of Surgery
Arthritis is usually a chronic condition and sometimes can lead to disability. However, there are many ways you and your doctor can lessen these problems. One of the ways may be surgery. Joint surgery can offer several benefits: Relief of pain is the most important benefit of joint surgery. 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. Improved movement and use of a joint are also important benefits of joint surgery. Continuous inflammation and the wearing away of bone and cartilage can cause joints, tendons, and ligaments to become damaged or pulled out of place. Losing the use of a joint, such as a hip, knee, hand, elbow or shoulder, can seriously hamper a persons activities. When this happens, surgery to replace or stabilize the joint may be suggested. An improvement in the appearance of deformed joints, especially in the hand, can be expected with some types of surgery.
Also Check: Are Peanuts Bad For Arthritis
The Risks Of A Delayed Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis
Delaying treatment doesnt just mean that youll be in pain for longer , but it also means that youre risking permanent damage to your joints.
The consequences of leaving RA untreated, according to Dr. Bykerk, include joint damage, permanent loss of function, deformity, potential heart disease complications, loss of work, and depression.
In short, the sooner you see a specialist and get the right diagnosis, the sooner you can start treatment that will keep you active, healthy, and pain-free. Since RA is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis rheumatologists tend to see, most specialists will have plenty of experience treating RA. Ask your primary care doctor and any acquaintances who have RA for recommendations. Learn more about what a rheumatologist is here.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of that first visit to a rheumatologist:
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Arthritis In Your Jaw
Can You Have An Autoimmune Disease And Not Know It
Autoimmune diseases are not easy to diagnose unless specific prominent symptoms are present. Autoimmunity, however, can be diagnosed with a blood test that looks for auto-antibodies or tests looking for inflammation and dysfunction of certain organs most likely to be damaged by an immune system gone rogue.
Dont Miss: Can Arthritis Cause Swelling
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.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Fish Oil For Arthritis
How To Prepare For Your First Appointment
Your first appointment will ultimately set the tone for your RA treatment plan. Therefore, preparation is key to making sure your rheumatologist has all of the information needed to treat your symptoms properly. Not having enough information can result in more appointments and perhaps further diagnostic testing to get the data your doctor needs.
First, make sure you can provide a thorough account of your symptoms. It can help to have a journal or notepad detailing key things, such as:
- when your symptoms started
- when the last time you were totally well was
- if there was an event preceding the onset of symptoms
- how your symptoms have changed
- whether your symptoms have worsened or spread to other joints
- which joints bother you the most right now
- how your symptoms affect everyday activities
- certain activities or movements that worsen your symptoms
- if theres certain normal daily functions that have become difficult
Since RA is an autoimmune disorder, genetics are thought to play a role in its development. This means that you might have a family history of autoimmune disorders. Your relatives may not necessarily have RA, however.
RA is thought to be related to a gene called HLA-DR4. Ask your family members about the possibility of RA or other autoimmune disorders that exist in the family. Youll also want to provide your doctor with details surrounding your personal family history, including any other underlying diseases you might have.
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.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Over The Counter Medicine For Arthritis