How do I find the right doctor for me?
This is a very important question. If you're living in a rural community with only one family practice doctor, then the answer is easy. Go to him or her first! But, if you are in a city, town, suburb, or rural area with a variety of doctors to choose from, how do you find the one that is best for you and your joint pain?
Many medical specialists, including orthopedists, physiatrists, rheumatologists, family practitioners, and internists, treat joint pain. I would suggest that what is more important than the specialization of the doctor you choose is whether that doctor: (1) is an excellent clinician, (2) specializes in, and sees on a daily basis, patients with musculoskeletal joint pain, and (3) is someone that you feel comfortable with.
Consider starting by asking your primary care doctor for the best doctor for you to see with your joint pain. Ask your doctor whom he or she would send their loved one to if they had joint pain. Also ask your friends and family who have had similar pains who they went to see and what was their experience.
When you visit your primary musculoskeletal doctor, if you're not comfortable with him or her, don't be afraid to get a second opinion. Your primary musculoskeletal doctor should be someone who is not only going to get you feeling better now, but is going to help you stay pain-free and active well into the future.
Ideally, you are really building a long-term relationship with him or her. As such, you may need to "play the field" a bit before you settle on one that works for you. There really is no single "best doctor for joint pain," but there may be a best doctor for you. Identifying a musculoskeletal doctor that fits your needs may take a little work, but it is well worthwhile.
Published On: August 04, 2008