When you have osteoarthritis, a great relationship with the right doctor can play a critical role in your treatment and the management of your pain and other symptoms. A good doctor-patient relationship is based on mutual respect and understanding.
When deciding on a doctor, it's important that you choose a physician who:
• has experience with your condition
• stays up to date with the latest in research and techniques
• is readily accessible to you when you have questions or when you need to be seen
• returns phone calls or emails (or has staff members who do)
• won't keep you waiting for months when you need to schedule an appointment
Dealing with osteoarthritis can be a sometimes frustrating, always interesting journey. That's why it's important to have a knowledgeable and understanding doctor along for the ride.
Finding a Rheumatologist
The telltale symptoms all seem to be there. You suspect you have osteoarthritis. Now what? Do you call your family doctor or do you need to see a specialist?
You can start with your primary care physician who may end up referring you to a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who has completed additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists also conduct research to determine the cause and better treatment for arthritis and related diseases.
Want to know more about your new doctor and his or her training? Here's some information from the American College of Rheumatology.
What kind of training do rheumatologists have?
After four years of medical school and three years of training in either internal medicine or pediatrics, rheumatologists devote an additional two to three years in specialized rheumatology training. Most rheumatologists who plan to treat patients choose to become board certified. Upon completion of their training, they must pass a rigorous exam conducted by the American Board of Internal Medicine to become certified.
What do rheumatologists treat?