How to find the RIGHT Arthritis Specialist For You in 2023

An arthritis specialist is someone who has experience in treating those with a certain type of arthritis, usually rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. These clinicians and practitioners explore all options and stay up to date with the most current treatments. Seeing an arthritis specialist can help you understand all of your options as well as the best interventions for you to find pain relief. 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

“I feel like my doctor just dismisses my pain and gives me more medications.”

“My surgeon told me I essentially have to give up everything I love doing. I’m devastated.”

“It sounds like surgery is my only option and I just have to wait it out until then.”

“The physical therapist just tells me to ride the bike when I’m there and sometimes I leave with more pain than I came in with…”

“I really feel like my doctor just doesn’t listen to me. I really wish I could just find some answers.”

These scenarios can be all too common if the person you are seeing for your arthritis isn’t listening to you. It is so important to find a clinician who sees you as a person instead of a diagnosis.

Many times arthritis can feel like a devastating diagnosis. Without the appropriate support and guidance you may find yourself getting surgery prematurely or getting injections that could have been avoided. 

An arthritis specialist can give you more options and suggestions based on your goals and their experience treating arthritis. There are many different people that can specialize in arthritis including: 

  • Rheumatologists
  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Physical therapists (that’s me!)
  • Orthopedist

How do you know if they specialize in arthritis? Most of the time they will mention it in their title or on their website. But, even without this title, they can still offer you the support and guidance you need. The title is definitely an added bonus though. Personal recommendations from friends and family can also be helpful.

Let’s look into how to find the right healthcare provider for you. There are definitely items that can help you decide if you need a second opinion or a different perspective.

So often, when someone is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, very limited options are presented. This can lead to premature surgeries, unnecessary injections and wasted time. I don’t want this same thing to happen to you! 

This is why choosing the right specialist is so important. 

What to look for in a healthcare provider

Finding the right person to help you through your arthritis journey is crucial to your success. Having someone who can help guide your decisions and bring you confidence in your diagnosis will make a tremendous difference.

Here are 5 things to look for when deciding if a healthcare provider is right for you. Take a look at these questions and see if the provider you were seeing could accomplish 4 or all 5 of these items.

  • Did they ask about you– what you like to do, what you want to accomplish, what is important to you
  • Did they describe to you what arthritis is -besides just blaming it on “wear and tear”?
  • Did they give you another option besides surgery and other major procedures– including things you can do or changes you can make?
  • Did they ask if you had any questions– instead of assuming you don’t and simply leaving the room?
  • Did they tell you that you couldn’t do something that you love doing?

If the healthcare provider you are meeting with acheives 3 of these or less, a second opinion is highly recommended. Check below for a printable checklist!

arthritis specialist checklist

You deserve more

It can be a process when it comes to finding the right arthritis specialist and getting the answers you are looking for.

If you feel like you are being passed from doctor to doctor and are having a difficult time finding answers, there is still hope!

The more you know about arthritis, the better you will be at identifying who can best help you. If you are serious about tackling arthritis and don’t want to spend more time searching, you have to check out the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint!

Arthritis can be challenging and you need someone who is going to support you through the ups and downs- not someone who is going to dismiss your pain.

I saw so many people falling through the cracks. Pain being dismissed as “degenerative” with no hope in sight for recovery. Learning that there is “no cure for arthritis” so you just have to fight it out until surgery. This is NOT how it has to be.

Instead, people have gained hope and optimism with arthritis. Look at what members of our private Facebook community have learned through our sharing of powerful, in depth-information about arthritis. You won’t typically learn this from a general practitioner or someone who sees all kinds of diagnoses.

Have you ever learned any of these things below? If not, it’s time you head over learn what is actually possible with arthritis.

arthritis specialist

If your healthcare provider has focused on the things you can’t do instead of the things you can- this can be a problem. OR if you were told general recommendations like “lose weight” or “exercise” these can leave you feeling lost, confused, and overwhelmed on where to even begin.

As an arthritis specialist, I have made it my life’s mission to find out the absolute BEST ways to help you manage your osteoarthritis without surgery or other risky procedures.

You are more than just “bad joints”. Instead I view arthritis simply as an obstacle to get you closer to your goals.

So many people have gone through the ringer of:

  • meeting with different surgeons
  • failed physical therapy
  • frustration with pain management
  • attempting exercise programs that just lead to injury or more pain
  • failed dieting attempts
  • continued disappointment

But it is possible to break this vicious cycle with the right guidance. Through specific exercises directly tailored to osteoarthritis, inflammation focused diet changes, and exploration of other pain management options- an arthritis specialist can be much more effective at helping you finally learn how to thrive with osteoarthritis. 

Here at Keep the Adventure Alive, I strive to help bring people suffering with osteoarthritis from hopeless to hopeful. I have been able to do this through extensive experience and training on osteoarthritis and chronic pain specific training. 

Just as you see doctors that specialize in hearts, lungs, feet, neurological conditions, and other medical conditions- you deserve to see someone who specializes in arthritis too!

What you could be missing out on

A rheumatologist is just one type of arthritis specialist that can help you make confident decisions. Listen to this podcast episode to learn more about what they can do.

The current healthcare system tends to favor short appointments, premature surgeries, and more injections. You need someone who is up to date on the research and can help you decide on the best course of action. Take a look at some of these shocking statistics.

In an article by the Arthritis Foundation they looked further into recent rising surgery rates for arthritis, particularly in knee replacements. Here is a direct quote from this article.

“According to a study of more than 2 million knee replacement patients presented at the 2014 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting there was a:

  • 120% – Increase in knee replacements over a 10-year period.  
  • 89% – Increase in knee replacements among those aged 65 to 84. 
  • 188% – Increase in knee replacements for 45 to 64 year-olds”

Why are these rates increasing at such a drastic rate? What do these numbers mean? 

The rising rates could be attributed to an increase in the amount of people diagnosed with the condition due to our inflammatory-favoring culture. This is likely due to increased production of processed foods and the rise of technology leading to more sedentary behavior. People may also not be aware of other options that are available!

Surgery can be a big decision, one that can change your life significantly- for better or worse. Without all of the information on the potential risks and awareness of expectations after surgery, many could be making the wrong decision to fit their lifestyle.

I often hear from those that went through surgery weren’t aware of the magnitude of pain, the long recovery time, or the amount of work recovery would be. Others do very well! It’s all about making the right decision for you.

An arthritis specialist can help you find the best options to manage joint pain, decrease inflammation and keep your adventure alive! It’s important to find one that you trust to help you learn how to thrive with arthritis.

What can help your search for the right arthritis specialist

As mentioned above, the more you know about your arthritis, the easier it will be to find someone who can help you. Instead of weeding through all the information on the internet, I have gathered the top 5 things you need to know about arthritis before your next appointment.

You can download the Ultimate Arthritis Guide instantly down below. Prepare yourself for the next time you meet with a healthcare professional to make sure you are getting the right care!

Don’t sell yourself short by accepting subpar care when it comes to arthritis. Unfortunately arthritis isn’t going away, but you can absolutely learn how to manage the condition so you can enjoy life. Read about an inspiring patient story here.

You can absolutely do this. Having the right team behind you can be extremely powerful for this journey. If you are looking for a community of people to support you along the way, head over to our private facebook community HERE.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

arthritis adventure blueprint

The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint

Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s signature program to help you go from hopeless to hopeful with osteoarthritis. You will learn the secrets to arthritis pain relief that actually work- including exercise, diet, and other ways to control inflammation! Say goodbye to short term pain relief, it’s time to make it last.

Learn more!

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