Often the best place to start when you suspect you have arthritis is your primary care physician or other health care provider with whom you’ve established a good rapport.
- If the type of arthritis you have is acute (meaning it is only temporary), you probably need look no further than your local health care provider.
- If you are diagnosed with a more chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, gout, pseudogout, or especially rheumatoid arthritis, then seeing a specialist in these diseases may be important.
As with any chronic illness, navigating your way within the medical world will require you to be your own advocate. This means being proactive about your care, staying informed, and being organized about your needs during each appointment. This is not an easy road, and balancing the medical, insurance and care aspects of your health is going to require clarity and work on your part.
How Do You Choose a Doctor?
While you can use you primary care physician for advice in treating arthritis, you might want to consider consulting a specialist. You should consider the following types of physicians when are attempting to choose a doctor:
- Rheumatologists are doctors who specialize in treating diseases of the joints and connective tissue. They deal with all types of arthritis and keep up on the latest research. Since many diseases mimic arthritis, they are often the best professional to turn to if there is a question about diagnosis.
- Pain Specialists may be consulted if the pain you are suffering from becomes unbearable. Pain specialists often use a variety of techniques and medications in order to help people with chronic diseases.
If you need help choosing a doctor or researching your condition, there are associations that can help you:
American College of Rheumatology
1800 Century Place,Suite 250
Atlanta, GA 30345-4300
P.O. Box 7669
Atlanta, GA 30357-0669