If you have back or joint pain in the spinal area and you think there is a possibility that you may have arthritis, you might be considering what type of doctor you need to see. It can be confusing to most without a medical background on whether they should see an orthopaedist, an rheumatologist or a different type of specialist. There seems to be a constant overlap between different medical professionals which has caused a little confusion amongst people. Both rheumatology and orthopedics are physicians that are employed to treat joint pain.
Different Types of Spinal Arthritis
Infact, there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, with one of the most common forms of arthritis causing pain in the lower back and neck. According to experts in the United States, around one in every four people over the age of 18 years old have been diagnosed with arthritis by a doctor. The Spine and Rehab group allows sufferers of spinal arthritis to make an appointment with a spine doctor from New Jersey. Many of these pains can easily be managed by simple stretches, a change of lifestyle and diet, however arthritis can prove to be very problematic with others and can last for years and in some cases a lifetime. Treatment varies with each patient, depending on what type of arthritis the individual has, how long he or she has been experiencing the pain and the severity of the arthritis. Unfortunately, arthritis is not reversible.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the world. Approximately 50 million people in the United States are diagnosed with arthritis, around 30 million of these suffer from Osteoarthritis. It is mostly common among those in middle aged or older. Although it can be found in many parts of the body, when it occurs in the spine the cartilage between the vertebrae gradually becomes weaker and shrinks. The result can cause the sufferer chronic pain. There is also a chance of spinal deformation if the condition gets worse.
How Does A Spinal Doctor Treat Spinal Osteoarthritis?
Normally, a patient will have to undertake a physical examination which will provide the specialist with the patient’s general health and fitness. The doctor might request the patient to provide him or her with past medical history information and also the medical history of their family. You may be asked to give samples of blood and urine.
During the physical examination, patients should expect to do a palpation test. This will determine whether or not the patient has any spinal abnormalities and muscle spasm issues. They might also be required to do a list of motion measures to see how flexible the patient is and to help pinpoint exactly where the origin of the problem is. Different movements like lateral bending, extensions and spinal rotations are often requested by the specialist.
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Spine?
Spinal arthritis can cause pain and stiffness to the lower back area. Many people claim the feeling is most painful when waking up in the morning due to the lack of activity while sleeping. The pain normally lasts for around 30 minutes after waking up which is known as ‘’the first movement’’. This can be the cause of swelling. The pain often improves while being active during the day, however the pain sometimes seems to get worse near the end of the day. Many sufferers also tend to have trouble sleeping at night, finding the illness to be a major cause of sleep disruption. Often during the winter time, due to the cooler weather, many sufferers get swelling in their joints and they feel the pain intensifies.
Most sufferers feel pain in their lower back, however this can also run into the buttocks area, with many people expressing sourness in their hips. A burning sensation is often felt on the outer aspect of the patient’s thigh and further down the leg. Because many people assume they have a problem in their legs or hips, it’s often very difficult for specialists to pinpoint if the patient is suffering from arthritis of the spine. People often feel that they are not as flexible as they once were, finding difficulties in basic daily tasks such as bending down and picking up an object from the ground. It can feel like bones are rubbing off each other and they might be able to hear the sound of the bones scraping off each other. A tingling sensation is also very common in the spinal cord.
What Is Lumbar Spine Arthritis?
Lumbar spine arthritis is not a condition, but a term used for lots of forms of different arthritis affecting the spine. It causes sufferers to feel pain in their lower back area. The pain can often prove to be chronic with the area containing five or six vertebrae.
What Is A Rheumatologist?
Although a Rheumatologist is largely unknown to the average person as a medical specialty. It is however, a doctor that is an expert in treating and diagnosing arthritis and other muscle and joint conditions. Their expertise is in treating all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal issues.
What Other Subjects Does A Rheumatologist Treat?
Here are a few of the subjects a Rheumatologist will treat and diagnose:
Gout, which is a commonly used term for a lot of conditions caused after a buildup of uric acid has occurred. Many sufferers of gout will often feel pain and swelling in their joints of their feet. The big toes seems to be the most commonly affected area. Many complain that they get regular shots of instance pain, also known as gout attacks can give a feeling as though one’s foot is on fire.
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common and painful forms of arthritis. It can cause severe joint pain and stiffness, leaving the patient with movement issues. Unfortunately, the pain and stiffness can last years and sometimes, even a lifetime. This is often hereditary and is more commonly found with females. In many cases urgent medical care is advised and you may require imaging or lab tests to help with the prognosis.
Apart from the back, a Rheumatologist can also be expected to treat the neck, shoulder, hip and foot.