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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Suggest treatment for osteoarthritis

Answered by
Dr. Dariush Saghafi


Practicing since :1988

Answered : 2474 Questions

Posted on Sat, 10 Jun 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: I need help in trying to find a new doctor in my area but I really don't know if I need a general practitioners or eternal medicine. I have several bulging disc in lower back and have constant pain plus I have osteoarthritis. So not sure which kind of doctor would best suit my needs. My current doctor just gives me pain meds and doesn't show interest in solving the problem. What kind of doctor should I choose? By the way I am almost 60 years old.
Answered by Dr. Dariush Saghafi 40 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Best physician for your needs

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for your question.

The difference between a General Practitioner and an Internist could be summarized most succinctly by stating that an Internist is a MEDICAL SPECIALIST who has spent 3 years of additional training beyond medical school. A General Practitioner is not considered a specialization of medicine and is what every licensed practitioner can call themselves after a year of internship at a hospital and after passing the required licensing exam in the State where they wish to practice.

The problem of osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, unfortunately, does not yet have a comprehensive solution or full out CURE as an option. Arthritic changes are part and parcel of the aging process. Some people have a genetic profile that lends itself to very mild symptoms and others, despite trying to stay in shape, watch their weight, remain active, and eat healthily can still experience significant symptoms. I wouldn't say that the doctor who is treating you isn't interested in solving the problem so much as there simply is no 100% cure to this problem.

Having said that-- there are many options that could be considered in addition to medication (which BTW, I'm not a terrific fan of using for something like this....)....I believe people with osteoarthritis will gain more mileage out of a prescription for ACTIVITY/MOVEMENT/EXERCISE and good dietary habits with a MINIMUM of medication which has never been shown to change the outcome nor the course of disease in patients with arthritic changes as you describe.

May I recommend you look at the website of the XXXXXXX Arthritis Foundation and take a look at the VERY GOOD part of that website that discusses OSTEOARTHRITIS and the options we now have to treat patients both holistically as well as medically. In fact, you may even be able to call the nearest chapter office to where you live for a list of specialists or doctors that they may be able to recommend. Here is the specific page on their website that I would direct your attention and invite you to read for more information on what I'm talking about.

The direct answer to your question, however, is that the difference between a general practitioner and an internist to treat this problem is not NEARLY IMPORTANT in my opinion as your being able to find a doctor who is willing to WORK WITH YOU, think out of the box a little, and use medications sparingly as opposed to getting your body "to do the work" which truthfully speaking is the angle to approach the problem, in my opinion, and not from what some may consider a conventional medical perspective which is to "choose the drug that will cure!" This is a different animal. It requires a GOOD DOCTOR with a sense of spirit and desire to help you.....internist, general practitioner, physiatrist, physical medical and rehab specialist, orthopod.....etc. etc. etc........the specialty is not as key as the relationship you can develop.

It's a shame you live on the opposite side of the country because then, I would've invited you to come for a visit to my office where I could demonstrate much of what I'm referring to in terms of a more varied approach to your problem....though I would NEVER lead you or anyone else to believe that there were a CURE at the end of the rainbow....I hope that makes sense and wish you the best in finding that good doctor in your area....or come and visit XXXXXXX Ohio where the Cavaliers are poised to take yet another Championship in the conference at which point we will be looking forward to facing YOUR team of the GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS in due course! LOL! XXXXXXX man.....bring it! HA!

If I've provided useful and helpful information to your questions could you do me a huge favor by CLOSING THE QUERY and be sure to include some fine words of feedback along with a 5 STAR rating? Again, many thanks for submitting your inquiry and please let me know how things turn out.

Do not forget to contact me in the future at: for additional questions, comments, or concerns having to do with this topic or others.

This query has utilized a total of 21 minutes of professional time in research, review, and synthesis for the purpose of formulating a return statement.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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