When to See a Doctor for Joint Pain

Nov 28, 2018 9:04:19 AM / by Voyage Healthcare Team posted in Family Medicine, Health Tips, Voyage Healthcare News

Do you find your fingers are swelling and hurting more than usual? Does your persistent knee pain cause an issue every time you attempt to sit or stand up? Do you find yourself limping to get around? All of these are symptoms that come with having a rheumatic disease, and if you haven't already, it may be time to see a professional. 

Doctor looking at patient with pain in hand

What Kind of Provider Should You See?

If you’re experiencing any symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, a great first start is scheduling an appointment with a primary care or family medicine physician. These providers will be able to briefly assess your issues, pain level, and more, and then refer you to a specialist such as a rheumatologist, if indicated. Rheumatologists have studied rheumatic diseases and are trained in diagnosing and treating all sorts of disorders that fall under the rheumatoid umbrella.

It’s important to note that you may have to go through a few appointments before you receive official confirmation on your diagnosis. As there are over 100 different rheumatic disorders, some often have similar symptoms. Visiting with a specialist is key to finding exactly what is going on and how to properly treat the diagnosis.

Call When You Experience These Symptoms

Whether you have some type of arthritis or you’re just experiencing joint pain, it can put stress on your quality of life. Visiting a rheumatologist can ease discomfort based on the treatment plans given. You’ll also be able to monitor your pain levels to know when it’s time to go back in and chat with your provider. Consider keeping a journal that chronicles your pain level, symptoms experienced, and any other aspect you’d like to mention to your doctor. 

Schedule an appointment with your doctor when you experience these symptoms:

  • Pain in one or more joints
  • Swelling in one or more joints
  • Stiffness in one or more joints
  • Joints that are red and warm to the touch
  • Joints that are tender and sore
  • Difficultly moving joints during activities
  • Joint symptoms lasting three or more consecutive days
  • Experiencing several joint issues a month
  • Symptoms worsen, become consistent, or it’s becoming harder to move around

While your appointment may be scheduled a few months out with a rheumatologist, you may find that you have to see them sooner rather than later. Here are seven reasons when you should visit your provider right away:

  • Experience a new symptom
  • Experience pain in a new location
  • Experience a flare-up of your symptoms
  • Experience a change in sleeping habits
  • Experience a change in eating habits
  • Experience side effects

How North Clinic Can Help

What makes North Clinic unique? You may start your journey to recovery with one of our primary care physicians and then move to see a rheumatologist, all of which are under the same roof!

Our four convenient locations are each staffed with experienced, friendly and caring physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and medical staff. We pride ourselves on creating a personal and welcoming experience where you will be greeted by name and never treated like a number. 

With a wide range of options to getting you back on your feet and feeling your best, request an appointment today.

Suffering from joint pain? If your joints or muscles are hurting and inflamed, check out our guide on what you need to know about rheumatology. Get the guide!

Voyage Healthcare Team

Written by Voyage Healthcare Team

Voyage Healthcare is an independently owned, multi-specialty healthcare clinic — guided by the doctors who care for families in the northwest metro area of Minneapolis/St. Paul.


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Suffering from joint pain? If your joints or muscles are hurting and inflamed, check out our guide on what you need to know about rheumatology. Get the Guide!