How to find the RIGHT Arthritis Specialist For You in 2024

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 achieves 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 Adventurers for Life, our signature arthritis workout membership.

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. It is important to find a provider that understands your desires and your ambitions while also giving you options.

Do any of the situations sound familiar below? I want you to know that you aren’t alone and that there is hope.

arthritis specialist
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. There is so much information out there so it’s incredibly important to make sure it’s coming from quality sources. 

If you’re looking to learn more about arthritis, head over to my youtube channel where you’ll find free videos about a variety of topics around arthritis, pain reduction, walking, stairs and more.

To make a change in your mobility, strength, and pain levels- it’s time to take action. Without action, the things you love to do may become more and more difficult.

You can do this.

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.

adventurers for life

If you are looking to regain your active life but are unsure where to start, join the revolutionary membership, Adventurers for Life. This is a step-by-step path that not only will help you find pain relief but will help you unlock adventure. You’ll get workouts, tests to pass to make sure you are on the right track, community events and MORE. 

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