How Long Should You Wait to See a Doctor for Arthritis Pain?

Aug 11, 2022

Arthritis is a painful and often debilitating condition that can drastically alter a person’s daily routine—but how do you know when the pain is severe enough to visit the doctor?

Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place. While arthritis is common, you shouldn’t wait to get the help you need. Read on to get our best tips for living with arthritis.

What is Arthritis? 

Technically speaking, arthritis isn’t considered a diagnosis. Instead, it’s a term that covers a litany of diseases and related conditions—knowing which type of arthritis you are suffering from is the first step to receiving the right treatment and pain management plan.

Some types of arthritis require prompt action and can cause permanent joint damage unless properly treated. This may help to preserve joint function and mitigate other potentially serious health problems.

Common Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is the most common form of arthritis. Some refer to OA as degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis, affecting the hands, hips, and knees.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease and causes inflammation or painful swelling in the affected parts of the body.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that tends to cause a sense of pain over the whole body—it also leads to sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress.


Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis and is very painful. Most often, gout will affect one joint at a time.

Childhood Arthritis

Arthritis in children is called childhood arthritis or juvenile arthritis and may cause permanent physical damage to the joints. This damage can make it hard for children to walk, play, and dress and may cause a permanent physical disability.

When you Should See a Doctor

Before scheduling an appointment with your doctor or arthritic practitioner, there are some potentially threatening signs to be aware of.

  • Pain, swelling, or stiffness in one or more joints
  • Joints that are red or warm to the touch
  • Joint tenderness or stiffness
  • Difficulty moving a joint or doing daily activities
  • Common symptoms that cause you concern

It may be particularly urgent to schedule an appointment if you are experiencing one of the following:

  • Joint symptoms that last three days or more
  • Several episodes of common symptoms within a month

What about self-care?

A patient may treat their symptoms by taking pain relievers, resting, and icing the affected area to achieve temporary relief. However, if no improvement results in one to two weeks, you should call to schedule an appointment with your orthopedic specialist.

Here are some self-care tips to follow:

  • Be Organized
  • Manage Pain
  • Improve Sleep
  • Have an Active Life
  • Eat a Balanced Diet


Don’t wait to see a doctor for your shoulder pain. Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, Inc. (MOA) is a leading orthopedic practice in the region. Our staff is proud of our doctors’ education and experience for each patient.

Dr. Micucci is a Shoulder Specialist at Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, with expertise in Arthosocopy, including Rotator Cuff Repair and Shoulder Instability. If you are suffering from a shoulder injury, Dr. Miccucci can develop a treatment plan to help relieve your shoulder pain.

You don’t have to live with pain. Schedule an appointment today, and let us help you get back to normal.

Categories: Fracture | Treatments