Healthy Living

Symptoms or Signs of Arthritis

What Type of Specialist Should I See if I Have Arthritis?

Key Takeaways

  • The term “arthritis” covers more than 100 related diseases and health conditions. The most common ones are: osteoarthritis (OA), fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, and psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatologists are specialists in nonsurgical arthritis treatment. The patient visits a rheumatologist for the first diagnosis and future treatment plans.
  • An orthopedist specializes in musculoskeletal issues and injuries. An orthopedic surgeon performs surgeries on joints, muscles, and bones. 

Arthritis is one of the oldest diseases known to humans. Arthritis can affect people and children of all ages. The pain and stiffness of the joints are serious symptoms indicating that the person may have some serious type of arthritis that needs urgent treatment. If the person delays the visit to the doctor, the damage can be permanent. So, if you have any symptom like pain that lasts more than 3 days and swelling or joint tenderness and redness, you need to call your doctor immediately. Your doctor will tell you what type of specialist you should see based on the first symptoms you feel.

The term “arthritis” covers more than 100 related diseases and health conditions. The most common ones are: osteoarthritis (OA), fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), gout, and psoriatic arthritis. First of all, you need to know what type of arthritis you have. Visit your doctor and talk about the symptoms and discomfort you feel. You might need to see a rheumatologist or an orthopedic specialist. There are many types of arthritis that require long and complex treatments. Arthritis is a very serious disease if it’s not diagnosed in time. Not every pain qualifies as an early sign of arthritis. For example, if you feel any pain in your joints, it may be happening because you have hurt your joint before, or perhaps you have been working all day around the house, or the swelling, fatigue, tenderness and stiffness in the joints may simply be caused by exhaustion. Injuries like these need a day or two in order to completely heal. So, if these things happen, you don’t have to panic. But if you have any of these symptoms, and you are not working too much or you often have trouble getting up in the morning, then you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. Only a doctor can discover the early signs of arthritis and only he can diagnose this disease in the early or later stages. The opinion of the specialist can be the key to the determination of the type of arthritis and appropriate treatment.

Make an appointment with a specialist if you feel any of these symptoms:

-          Disabling arthritis

-          Arthritis that affects other body parts, not only the joints

-          If you have other serious diseases

-          The symptoms are getting worse despite therapy you are undergoing

The doctors will try to cure the patient with conventional medicine, by understanding and correcting the problems that are causing the symptoms. The patient may also try complementary medicine that includes therapies that work alongside conventional treatments. There is a possibility that the alternative medicine can help in a case of arthritis.

The drugs that are used for arthritis can be divided in two groups:

-       Drugs that directly treat the symptoms

-       Drugs that treat the inflammatory disease

Rheumatologists are specialists in nonsurgical arthritis treatment. The patient visits a rheumatologist for the first diagnosis and future treatment plans. The rheumatologist will probably need to order some tests run including:

-          X-ray

-          CT scans of the joints

-          Blood tests

-          Bone density scan

-          Ultrasound scans of the joints

-          MRI scans

-          Urine test

-          Biopsy

There are many possible arthritis diagnoses such as rheumatoid arthritis, which requires blood tests, or osteoarthritis, which can be diagnosed with fewer tests. Psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis need more intensive diagnostic as well as treatment processes.

An orthopedist specializes in musculoskeletal issues and injuries. An orthopedic surgeon performs surgeries on joints, muscles, and bones. This specialist also focuses on diagnosis and future treatments.

In an arthritis case of the osteopathic type, the patient should visit an osteopathic physician. This doctor is more focused on prevention of the diseases like arthritis. Sometimes the patient may need to pay a visit to a physiatrist for additional therapy and rehabilitation.
The physical therapy for arthritis includes exercises for rehabilitation. The therapist can make a special exercise program for the patient. Diseases like arthritis may cause some mental issues and the patients often need to go to a psychologist for emotional counseling and guidance for the challenges the chronic disease may bring.

A physiatrist who feels uncomfortable with prescribing medications for psoriatic arthritis will refer the patient to a rheumatologist, who has more experience with these agents. The physiatrist may then concentrate on the functional restoration of the patient. Children with juvenile arthritis (JA) should be examined by an ophthalmologist annually to check for the several forms of eye inflammation usually associated with various forms of juvenile arthritis. In addition, consultation with an orthopedic surgeon is warranted for individuals who may benefit from joint replacement, artheodesis (artificial ankylosis), or contracture release.

The treatment is different for every patient depending on their general health and the type of arthritis they have. Pharmacists are also included in the treatment because they will know the right dose of medicines that the patient needs to take. Chiropractors can treat several issues like back, neck, or joint problems. They use a supporting psychology combined with electrical stimulation, but they do not perform surgeries and can’t prescribe drugs.

Even though arthritis is usually association joint pain, you may feel a range of other symptoms besides this. If you think that you have any of the symptoms or signs of arthritis you need to contact your doctor immediately and consult with a specialist. Even though there is no known cure, there are a lot of different therapies and medications that will help ease the pain. There also ways to improve your lifestyle, and consequently how you feel, such as by being more careful with your diet, resting more, and exercising with the therapist's instructions. Hot and cold therapy, massage, and meditation are some of the home remedies you can try at home.

There are also many alternative ways to treat the mild forms of arthritis and the patients shouldn’t be afraid to ask for that kind of help. Sometimes alternative medicine combined with prescription drugs can give even better results. The patient can hire personal trainers and nutritionists to help them lose weight and start living a healthier life.