Skip to content
    Font Size

    Rheumatoid Arthritis - When to Call a Doctor

    Call your doctor immediately if you have:

    • Sudden, unexplained swelling and pain in any joint or joints.
    • Joint pain associated with a fever or rash.
    • Pain that is so severe that you cannot use the joint.
    • Back or neck pain along with weakness in your arms or legs.
    • Loss of bowel or bladder control.

    Call your doctor within the next few days if you have:

    Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Why Does My Doctor Call RA an Autoimmune Disease?

    When your doctor tells you that you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), he may also say it's an autoimmune disease. You might not think it has anything in common with conditions like type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. But it does. They all result when something misfires in your immune system. Instead of attacking threats, it goes after you.  

    Read the Why Does My Doctor Call RA an Autoimmune Disease? article > >

    Watchful waiting

    Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. It is reasonable to try home treatment for mild joint pain and stiffness. If there is no improvement after 6 weeks, or if any other symptoms are present, call your doctor.

    Early treatment can slow and sometimes prevent significant joint damage. So if you have symptoms similar to rheumatoid arthritis, see your doctor to find out if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Early diagnosis and treatment allows for possible reduction of joint pain, slows joint destruction, and reduces the chance of permanent disability.

    Who to see

    Early arthritis symptoms can be diagnosed by:

    Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated by:

    • A rheumatologist.
    • A family medicine doctor or an internist who consults with a rheumatologist.

    Supportive treatment can be provided by:

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 06, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    rubbing hands
    Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
    mature couple exercising
    Decrease pain, increase energy.
    mature woman threading needle
    How much do you know?
    Swelling, fatigue, pain, and more.
    Lucille Ball
    Hand bones X-ray
    prescription pills
    Woman massaging her neck
    woman roasting vegetables in oven
    Woman rubbing shoulder
    doctor and patient hand examination