SAA’s Helpful Hints: Community Wisdom - Medical Professionals

By Spondylitis Association of America

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Helpful Hints is a recurring feature, aimed at sharing our community’s knowledge and experiences. In this installment, we asked our online community, “Which medical professional has the most impact on managing your spondylitis symptoms? Rheumatologist, Primary Care Physician, Osteopathic Physician, Functional Medicine, Physical Therapist, Pain Management Specialist, or Psychologist?” It takes the work of many professionals to help guide and treat patients, as the below responses show.

My whole medical team is honestly a huge part of that. It takes each one of them doing a piece to make it all work. However, I would say that we are the number one influence on our health. Are we following doctor’s orders, staying active, keeping a positive attitude, helping the AS community to be more aware and educated?
~Summer C.
Rheumatologist, PCP, and massage therapist.
~Angi B.
Rheumatologist and my Primary Care Practioner both have the greatest impact on my symptoms. I don't know what I would do without them.
~Regina J.
My PCP has had my back, quite literally, from the beginning of my search for answers and after the diagnosis. I don't know where I'd be or what I would do without him.
~Kellianne M.
Believe it or not, my podiatrist! If it weren’t for him I would not have gotten my diagnosis, especially after years and years of searching.
~Stacey T.
Nutritionist and CrossFit Coach
~Ben Bradley
Rheumatologist, PCP, Functional Med Chiropractor. In no certain order. It takes a village.
~Christina K.
Myself ~Jim S.
Jim S. I totally agree. The only thing I get from doctors are blank stares and a prescription. I’ve learned everything about pain and disease management myself.
~Jody P.
1. Acupuncturist 2. Rheumatologist
~Jocelyn S.
~Gwen O.
My General Practice/Internalist Linda Coleman.
~Holly F.
Rheumatologist and my dermatologist helped diagnose my spondylitis or as it's now called, psoriatic spondyloarthritis.
My ophthalmologists, it was because of his diagnosis and referral I went to rheumatologist this past September and received my diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. 20+ years of thinking I was crazy or a hypochondriac.
My ophthalmologist is my hero. After several cases of uveitis, he sent me for x-rays then referred me to a rheumatologist who diagnosed the spondylitis. I still see him often (unfortunately) but he got me started on the path to controlling my pain.
Currently...functional medicine
Pain Management
Pain management specialist and Rheumatologist
My pcp diagnosed me and does my pain management; my rheumy adjusts/adds my meds. My family is my rheumy's pet project as we are confirmed 3 generations of AS'ers. All 3 of my kids are gene positive, 2 are officially diagnosed at the moment.
~Janet B.
At my stage of progression, my Primary Care Physician is my main "go-to."
Rheumatologist, Ophthalmologist.
Orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist.
You missed pharmacist. But I see my care as a team approach. I'm the most important person in my own care. I make the ultimate decisions about my health.
Rheumatologist and some help since diagnosis from PCP.
~Sheri D.
My rheumatologists, especially the one who gave a 25-year-old female the right diagnosis 29 years ago when AS was considered a “man’s” disease.
~Pam W.
My rheumatologist! After 6 months of doctors and testing then I finally asked for the referral from my primary.
~Tricia E.
It took a physical medicine doctor to diagnose my AS using a simple blood test and MRI. Chiropractors and physical therapists missed an ongoing issue for 8 years. My PCP knew right away that a 30yo was too young to have this kind of pain. Thank God for awesome doctors! I’d give them a medal if I could. Now my rheumy keeps me in good shape
~Patricia A.
I would say rheumatologist. Side note: I would change “psychologist” to “mental health care provider” to also include social workers, mental health counselors, and psychiatrists.
~Sandra P.
My Rheumatologist at Kaiser... Dr Salazar... he's truly a great doctor and I couldn't go through this without him.
~Christy W.
My rheumatologist. Very smart, caring physician. I am fortunate.
~Amy H.
My PCP and rheumatologist.
~Leigh C.
My Rheumatologist for sure!
~Cheryl M.
My rheumatologist. She takes great care of me.
~Gina M.
1st place goes to Rheumatologist, Dr. Isam Diab diagnosed me.
~Michelle M.
My rheumatologist. She happens to be my sister-in-law as well.
My rheumatologist has the greatest effect on managing my symptoms.
My Rheumatologist hands down. I don't know what I'd do without her. And to be fair I found her through my Ophthalmologist who treats my Uveitis. They work together to treat my AS/Uveitis. I know how fortunate I am to have them both.
Rheumatologist...others don't know much about AS...

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