Who Treats Arthritis?
In most cases, arthritis is treated by healthcare providers such as primary care physicians, physical therapists, and dietitians. Primary care physicians treat patients before they are referred to other specialists in the healthcare system; physical therapists work with patients to improve joint function; and dietitians teach patients how to use a good diet to improve health and maintain a healthy weight. The remaining types of health professionals who provide treatment focus on various different challenges that people may face because of the illness.
Many types of professionals in healthcare treat people with osteoarthritis. Some examples of health professionals who treat arthritis include:
- Primary care physicians. Doctors who treat patients before they are referred to other specialists in the healthcare system.
- Rheumatologists. Doctors who specialize in treating arthritis and related conditions that affect joints, muscles, and bones.
- Orthopedists. Doctors who specialize in the treatment of, and surgery for, bone and joint diseases.
- Physical therapists. Health professionals who work with patients to improve joint function.
- Occupational therapists. Health professionals who teach ways to protect joints, minimize pain, and conserve energy.
- Dietitians. Health professionals who teach ways of using a good diet to improve health and maintain a healthy weight.
- Nurse educators. Nurses who specialize in helping patients understand their overall condition and implement their treatment plans.
- Physiatrists (rehabilitation specialists). Doctors who help patients make the most of their physical potential.
- Licensed acupuncture therapists. Health professionals who reduce pain and improve physical functioning by inserting fine needles into the skin at various points on the body.
- Psychologists. Healthcare professionals who help patients cope with difficulties in the home and workplace resulting from their medical conditions.
- Social workers. Professionals who assist patients with social challenges caused by disability, unemployment, financial hardships, home healthcare, and other needs resulting from their medical conditions.