Most people experience bone, joint, or muscle pain from time to time. Overuse, acute injury, and the natural effects of aging may all contribute to pain and stiffness. While you may be able to treat the discomfort at home, there are times when more specialized care is indicated. A primary care doctor can make referrals to the kind of rheumatologist Germantown residents need. Consider the following when deciding whether to see a rheumatologist.

1. Pain Does Not Resolve With Home Treatment

Painful orthopedic conditions often respond to a combination of heat, rest, ice, and gentle home exercise. If you follow this regimen diligently for several days with no relief, it may be time to see a rheumatologist.

2. Your Doctor Suspects an Underlying Condition

Chronic or widespread joint pain may indicate an underlying rheumatic disorder that requires long-term treatment. Rheumatologists treat conditions like osteoarthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. You may need multiple visits and diagnostic tests to correctly identify and treat the source of your pain.

3. Worsening Joint Condition

Symptoms of rheumatic disorders often go beyond pain. Stiffness and joint deformity progress over time, and may become difficult to treat. In some cases, the disorder may lead to serious and irreversible tissue damage. It is important to start treatment before the condition progresses to this point.

4. You Want Your Life Back

Nobody deserves to lose their quality of life to bone, muscle, or joint pain. If pain interferes with your work, hobbies, family life, or social life, working with a rheumatologist can get you back on your feet. Managing pain effectively lets you get the most out of each day.

Talk to your primary care doctor if rheumatic pain interferes with your life. A referral to a rheumatologist could start you on the path to greater comfort and a fuller life.