Your personal physician may probably refer you to rheumatologist if he suspects you are suffering from arthritis. A rheumatologist is a medical professional specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of the signs and symptoms of arthritis.
Your doctor or specialist will be able to come up with a proper diagnosis from the right information you give him. So if you give him correct information about your condition, it is best that a week before your appointment to observe your pains, inflammation and aches and list them down. You can write down the day, time and even the weather when your joints hurt and how severe the pain was. Your arthritis specialist may also inquire you on how well you are capable of performing your daily living activities like your chores, for example. Do you have difficulty in working on simple yard chores, can you do short walks around your home without feeling any pain? Are you able to carry or lift objects easily?
When you come in for your first appointment, the arthritis physician may need to know your complete medical history. So before your appointment, you can make some research on your own that will enable you to completely fill out your medical history. The medical history may involve any allergies you have, any former surgical procedures you have undergone and your family history of rheumatoid arthritis. Your doctor will also inquire about the medications you are currently taking and the amounts and dosages you take everyday. All medications you take should be known by your specialist regardless if they’re for your joint pain or not. It is best to list them down in case you forget them during your appointment. You could also bring these meds with you to your appointment to show to the specialist if that’s what you want. You can ask some basic questions about your condition like:
- What exactly is causing my condition and symptoms?
- What do you think are its causes?
- Will I need to undergo tests to get a diagnosis?
- What treatment course do you think is best for my condition?
- How long will the treatment course be?
- What steps can I take to relieve my joint pain now?
- Am I in danger of developing chronic or long term complications because of my condition?
- Will I need a follow up exam?
- How can I properly manage this condition along with the other health I conditions I presently have?
The initial consultation with your rheumatologist may entail a comprehensive joint exam. The specialist will need to identify the joints that are painful and/or damaged and how limited are the range of motion of these joints. Treatment choices will be formulated by the specialist based on your exam results and your specialist’s findings. These choices may include therapy, exercise and medications.
The doctor may ask you further basic questions such as:
- When did you first notice your symptoms?
- When you do any kind of activity, does the pain worsen?
- Is the pain felt in one joint or more?
- Do you know a family member living or dead who have had joint pain?
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