If you are experiencing any pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints for more than 8 to 10 days, it is important to consult your doctor.
You should consult a doctor to make a diagnosis and receive a suitable treatment as soon as possible to relieve your pain and reduce the difficulties you have in your movements.
Your doctor will reassure you about the possible causes of your pain or discomfort and determine if you have osteoarthritis or another condition.
He or she will also guide you in your treatment and the behaviour to adopt to improve your daily life.
If it is osteoarthritis, your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis by evaluating your medical history and conducting a physical examination. Sometimes it will require some additional tests (X-rays, blood test and joint fluid analysis) to confirm the diagnosis, determine the presence or absence of joint damage, or to distinguish between various forms of arthritis.
Although at present, no treatment can cure osteoarthritis completely, managing the condition can reduce pain and stiffness and facilitate movement. You can thus regain a more active life. To achieve this it is, however, essential that you take an active part in the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.
Your GP, general practitioner knows you and is best placed to organise your care. Indeed, a general practitioner considers the patient as a whole and the affection from which he or she suffers as the result of physiological, human and environmental factors. Hence, he or she has a special relationship with each patient.
The rheumatologist is the specialist for pain and diseases of bones, joints, muscles and tendons. He or she is one of the privileged specialists your general practitioner calls upon for further tests, draining a joint effusion, or establishing an appropriate treatment.
If necessary, he or she will refer you to another health professional (radiologist, physiotherapist, etc.).