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.
Your Energy Level Is Like A Bank Account
Psoriatic arthritis can cause extreme fatigue. For every task you complete, or plan to complete, you drain your daily energy bank. Putting on mascara or talking to a neighbor on the street costs you energy. And sometimes, even if its the first thing you do after waking up, a shower may be all it takes to put you right back in bed.
Its important to rest when you need to and not push yourself too hard, especially on days when your symptoms are particularly severe, says Joseph Markenson, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Its also important for the loved ones of those who have psoriatic arthritis to understand how draining the condition can be for example, people with psoriatic arthritis may have to cancel plans frequently or head home early.
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What Kind Of Doctor Do You See For Arthritis
Youll likely see a number of different types of doctors over the course of your RA treatment. Heres how to talk to your doctor about rheumatoid arthritis. Youll likely see a number of different types of doctors over the course of your RA treatment.
When to See Your Doctor About Arthritis. weight loss, and a rash may be signs that you have one of the 100 types of arthritis and that you need to be see a doctor.
What to Do If You Suspect Arthritis Verywell Health If you are noticing aches and pain or stiffness and believe you may have arthritis, what should you do? What symptoms should prompt you to see your doctor?
How Rheumatoid Arthritis is Diagnosed Getting Tested. Nov 18, 2015. Based on the symptoms, your blood tests may indicate that it’s possible you have some kind of inflammatory arthritis and your doctor will give you a referral to a. You may also want to do a bit of research about RA and its treatment so you can prepare questions to ask when you see the rheumatologist.
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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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When It’s Time To See A Doctor For Joint Pain
If you are having joint symptoms that cause concern, you may have arthritis. Learn when you need to see a doctor.
People are often surprised to learn that arthritis isnt a diagnosis. Its a general term that covers more than 100 diseases and related conditions. Knowing which type of arthritis, you have is the first step in getting the right treatment and management plan for your situation.
Some types of arthritis require prompt action. If you have a type of arthritis that can cause permanent joint damage, getting treatment quickly can help preserve joint function and prevent other serious health problems.
On the other hand, infrequent or mild joint pains may not require a special or urgent doctor visit. While its good idea to talk with your doctor about your joint health and risks for arthritis, in general, you might be able to save the conversation for your next check-up.
When to See a Doctor
Watch for these potential signs and symptoms of arthritis:
- Pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints.
- Joints that are red or warm to the touch.
- Joint tenderness or stiffness.
- Difficulty moving a joint or doing daily activities.
- Joint symptoms that cause you concern.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Joint symptoms that last three days or more.
- Several episodes of joint symptoms within a month.
Which Type of Health Care Provider to See
After an Arthritis Diagnosis
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Common Types Of Arthritis
OA is the most common form of arthritis. Some refer to OA as degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis, affecting the hands, hips, and knees.
RA is an autoimmune disease and causes inflammation or painful swelling in the affected parts of the body.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that tends to cause a sense of pain over the whole bodyit also leads to sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress.
Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis and is very painful. Most often, gout will affect one joint at a time.
Arthritis in children is called childhood arthritis or juvenile arthritis and may cause permanent physical damage to the joints. This damage can make it hard for children to walk, play, and dress and may cause a permanent physical disability.
When To See Your Doctor For Arthritis
If you suspect that you have arthritis, or if youre dealing with pain you cant shake, its a good idea to check in with your doctor, Dr. Patel says. Its always good to see a physician if its something youre not sure about, he says. A lot of times, we see someone come in with what they think is arthritis and it ends up being a meniscal tear or something.
If youre not sure if you need to see a doctor, Dr. Patel recommends seeking help if youve had the pain for more than a month or if the pain is unbearable.
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What Are The Next Steps
Your rheumatologist will use all of this information to decide what to do next.
They may work with you to set treatment goals that show the disease is getting under control, like fewer signs of inflammation in your blood, as well as goals for quality of life, like enjoying family activities.
Medications. Your rheumatologist will probably prescribe methotrexate, which is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug . These medicines put the brakes on your immune system so it stops attacking your joints. The result is less inflammation and less pain. Your doctor may also tell you to take over-the-counter medicines for pain or prescribe low-dose corticosteroids to ease swelling.
If your RA is further along, you may need stronger medications called biologic response modifiers. Over time, you and your rheumatologist will find the right mix for you.
Physical therapyor occupational therapy. Your doctor may suggest that you meet with one or both of these health professionals. Physical therapists can teach you exercises to help you move your joints and make them stronger. Occupational therapists can show you how to ease the strain on your joints during daily activities.
Lifestyle changes. Exercise and weight control may be parts of your treatment plan. You need to move your joints to keep them from getting stiff and to strengthen the muscles around them. If youâre overweight, shedding extra pounds can take stress off joints and lessen pain.
How Is Psoriatic Arthritis Treated
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on the severity of your condition.
Boththe skin condition and the joint inflammation are treated. Early diagnosis andtreatment helps prevent joint damage. Some medicines used to treat psoriatic arthritisinclude:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to ease symptoms
- Corticosteroids for inflammation
- Immunosuppressive medicines such as methotrexate to reduce inflammation if NSAIDs donât work
- Biologic medicines to ease inflammation
- Vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin D to slow bone deformation
Other treatment may include:
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Rheumatologists Treat More Than 120 Different Diseases
Dont let the rheum in the name fool you. Besides rheumatoid arthritis , these doctors treat a wide variety of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that may affect the joints , as well as other muscle or bone problems or injuries that can make your joints hurt and limit your function.
In addition to the systemic diseases, people may come to see a rheumatologist to diagnose chronic back or neck pain or for a localized joint or muscle or tendon problem such as tennis elbow or Achilles tendonitis, says Paula Marchetta, MD, MBA, president of the American College of Rheumatology. They also treat other conditions that you might be unaware of, such as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease.
What Is Knee Pain
Pain is a common knee problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint , the kneecap , or the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the knee. Knee pain can be aggravated by physical activity, as well as obesity, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems . Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe.
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Caspar Criteria For Diagnosis
Diagnosing psoriatic arthritis relies on markers in an established system called the Classification Criteria for Psoriatic Arthritis .
The criteria are each assigned a point value. Each one has a value of 1 point except for current psoriasis, which has a value of 2 points.
The criteria are as follows:
- current psoriasis outbreak
- personal or family history of psoriasis
- swollen fingers or toes, known as dactylitis
- nail problems, like separation from the nail bed
- bone growths near a joint that are visible on an X-ray
- absence of rheumatoid factor
A person must have at least 3 points based on the CASPAR criteria to be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.
What Is A Dermatologist
A dermatologist is a doctor who primarily treats conditions related to the skin. This also includes conditions that affect the nails and hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology , dermatologists work with more than 3,000 related diseases, including psoriasis.
Dermatologists are often the first points of contact for those with PsA. This is especially the case for those who have psoriasis, but havent yet received a diagnosis for the arthritis component. A dermatologist treating a someone with psoriasis might ask about joint pain or stiffness, as these are common indicators of possible PsA.
In treating PsA, a dermatologist may prescribe topical ointments to minimize itchiness and pain as well as prescription medication. Light therapy might also be used in the dermatologists office.
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You Have Arthritis Pain Along With Other Conditions
Many people deal with some type of arthritis along with other conditions, like GERD or stomach ulcers. But if this is your case, be especially careful with self-medication.
Heres why: Many times, drugs to treat pain and inflammation conflict with drugs to treat other conditions. For example, long-term use of non-steroidal antiinflammatories can make digestive issues like ulcers worse, especially if youre taking a proton pump inhibitor for heartburn or GERD. Likewise, many pain medications raise your risk levels if you have heart disease or be dangerous if you have kidney disease.
If you take multiple drugs for multiple conditions, check with a doctor before treating your arthritis on your own, Dr. Burg recommends. Without proper guidance, adding more medications to the mix might do more harm than good.
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.
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What Can I Do To Help
Rheumatologists are like detectives looking for clues to relieve your pain and treat your condition. To give your new doctor a head start:
Make a timeline. Go back as far as you can remember. Describe your symptoms and how theyve changed over time.
Do some family research. What kinds of problems run in your family? Find out what you can about the health of your grandparents, parents, and any brothers and sisters.
List your meds. Your rheumatologist will need to know about every medication youâre taking:
- All your prescriptions for RA and other health problems
- Over-the-counter medicines, rub-on creams, and other pain relievers
- Vitamins, herbs, and supplements
You can write up a list or toss all the bottles in a bag and take them with you.
Ask your other doctors for copies of your records and any test results or X-rays, and take them with you, too.
American Academy of Pediatrics: âDefinition of a Pediatrician.â
American College of Physicians: âAbout Internal Medicine.â
American College of Rheumatology: Rheumatoid Arthritis,Simple Tasks, âWhat Is a Rheumatologist?â âImportance of Following Your Treatment Plan.â
American Physical Therapy Association: Who Are Physical Therapists?
Arthritis Foundation: Benefits of Weight Loss,Prepare for Your Doctor Visit,â What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?â
Cleveland Clinic: First Rheumatology Appointment?Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Pala, O. Cavaliere, F. Clinical Care in the Rheumatic Diseases.
Arthritis Of The Foot
Arthritis refers to the swelling and inflammation within a joint. This Swelling of the feet and foot pain caused by arthritis makes walking and exercise very uncomfortable. Many treatments are available from the best podiatrist in New York, including orthotics, oral medications, joint injections, and sometimes surgery. Several different types of arthritis can affect your feet, such as:
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The Two Inflammatory Conditions Often Go Hand
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have similar sounding names, but what could a skin condition have to do with an arthritic one? It turns out, a lot. Both diseases are autoimmune-related, meaning an overactive immune system triggers an inflammatory response that leads to symptoms. In the case of PsO, the inflammation shows up on your skin as thick, scaly plaques with PsA, inflammation primarily attacks your joints along with your skin. At least, thats usually what happens. But is it possible that you can have PsA without PsO? We asked top doctors for the bottom line.
What Type Of Doctor Should You See For Knee Pain
If the pain is the result of an injury, it is recommended to go to one of Coordinated Healths Orthopedic Walk-In Injury Centers for assessment. For pain that has been occurring for a longer duration of time, schedule an appointment with an orthopedic physician for evaluation and make a personalized treatment plan.
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What Are The Symptoms
Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint in the body and symptoms can vary from person to person. It can develop slowly with mild symptoms, or come on quickly and be severe. The most common symptoms are:
- pain, swelling and stiffness in one or more joints
- pain and stiffness in the buttocks, lower back or neck
- pain in tendons, such as at the back of the heel or sole of the foot
- changes in nails, such as thickening, colour change or separation from the skin
- pain and redness in the eyes.
Talk With Others Who Understand
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriatic disease and their loved ones. More than 94,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their experiences of life with psoriasis or PsA.
Do you have psoriasis or PsA or both? Which came first? Leave a comment below or start a discussion on MyPsoriasisTeam.
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