During the physical exam, your doctor might feel around your joint to pinpoint your pain. Your doctor might also order X-rays or other imaging tests to view your joints and bones.
If your bone spurs cause pain, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others).
Preparing for your appointment
You'll likely first see your family doctor, who might refer you to a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of joint disorders (rheumatologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- List your symptoms and how long you've had them.
- Write down key medical information, including other conditions you have, all medications and supplements you take, and family history of bone or joint disease.
- Note recent injuries that affected a joint.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Here are some questions to ask your doctor. Don't hesitate to ask others.
- What's the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes?
- What tests do I need?
- What treatment do you recommend, if any?
- I have other health problems. How can I manage them together?
- Is surgery an option in my case? Why or why not?
- What self-care measures can I take to help manage symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:
- How severe is your pain?
- Are you having trouble moving the affected joint or joints?
- Are your symptoms affecting your ability to complete daily tasks?
- If you've tried at-home treatments so far, what, if anything, has helped?
- What is your typical exercise routine?
Oct. 17, 2019
- Doherty M, et al. Clinical manifestations of osteoarthritis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Jan. 15, 2018.
- Firestein GS, et al., eds. Pathogenesis of osteoarthritis. In: Kelley and Firestein's Textbook of Rheumatology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 15, 2018.
- What is spinal stenosis? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.catalog.niams.nih.gov/detail.cfm?pubid=1851. Accessed Jan. 16, 2018.
- Is your back pain caused by OA? Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/back-pain/articles/oa-and-back-pain.php. Accessed Jan. 15, 2018.
- Imboden JB, et al. Osteoarthritis. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Rheumatology. 3rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Jan. 16, 2018.
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