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What should I tell the doctor about my arthritis symptoms?

To make sure you get the most out of your time, be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your risk factors?
  • When did your symptoms begin?
  • How often do your symptoms occur?
  • Are symptoms constant, or do they come and go?
  • What do your symptoms feel like?
  • Have you had any of these symptoms before? When?
  • What recent changes or stresses have you had in your life?

It is important to be specific about your symptoms because many conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and cartilage can cause similar or the same symptoms. The more detailed you can be, the more you are helping your doctor make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment.

Make sure you tell your doctor why you sought care in the first place. Also tell your doctor the following.

  • Describe the character of your pain. For example, describe where you feel pain, what it feels like, and when symptoms began.
  • Describe your joint stiffness.
  • List your other symptoms.
  • Describe the impact your condition is having on your ability to do daily activities.