Question about GPs

woodbine
woodbine Member Posts: 140
Hi,
Can I first say thank you to your staff on the telephone helpline who've already sent me some very helpful info by post & email.

I have OA in my back and hands, and seem to be developing it in my knees too. (My GPs diagnosis is based on an x-ray of my spine, the fact that OA runs in my family, and my symptoms, it's never been confirmed by a specialist.) My GP won't send me to the hospital as he says there is nothing they can do there as my condition is not severe enough to need surgery.

My hands, knees and back are geting gradually worse and I find writing next to impossible now. I have come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to change GPs, but I'm concerned that I'll go through all the necessary palaver to do so, only to find that the new Dr is as bad as the old one. I was wondering if there's such a thing as a list of GPs with a particular interest in joint problems, or any other way to find out? (I have no friends with similar conditions so they can't help by recommending one.)
Also, can you self-refer to a Pain Clinic or perhaps Occ Therapist, as this might be a way around the problem? Is the GP obliged to send you for a second opinion if you insist?
Any suggestions gratefuly received!

Thanks
Naomi

Comments

  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,326
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Naomi

    Glad our information was helpful.
    Your Primary Care Trust (PCT) will have a list of GP practices in their area that they can send you or it might be on their website. Most large GP practices have a website where details of doctors and their areas of special interest/expertise are given.
    You need a GP referral for the Pain Clinic but you can self refer to the Occupational Therapy department at your local Social Services though they won't be able to refer you to specialists.
    A GP is not obliged to refer you to a specialist if he doesn't think anything will be gained by the referral. OA is usually diagnosed by the GP on clinical examination, your description of your symptoms and confirmed by xray if necessary. Your GP has done all this and is right that if surgery is not needed at the moment little would be gained by referring you to a surgeon.
    However, an orthopaedic back specialist might be able to give some injections into your spine that would relieve your pain so something could be gained by that referral. Worth a try.
    A referral to a physiotherapist would also be appropriate.

    Best wishes

    Val
  • woodbine
    woodbine Member Posts: 140
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks - I'm especially glad to know that thet's the usual way of diagnosing OA, as I'd kept wondering if I could be absolutely sure that my joint problems are caused by that without a specialist confirming it. Perhaps I'm being unfairly harsh on my GP!
    Thanks for the other info too.
    Could I also ask a question about medication that I meant to ask in my original post? Is it helpful to take regular doses of Ibuprofen when you've got OA? My GP prescribed it for me, but I read in a library book that as OA is caused by degeneration rather than inflamation, it won't help. I don't want to take it if so, as it upsets my stomach when I do. What do you think? :?
    Thanks :)

    Naomi
  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,326
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    woodbine wrote:
    Thanks - I'm especially glad to know that thet's the usual way of diagnosing OA, as I'd kept wondering if I could be absolutely sure that my joint problems are caused by that without a specialist confirming it. Perhaps I'm being unfairly harsh on my GP!
    Thanks for the other info too.
    Could I also ask a question about medication that I meant to ask in my original post? Is it helpful to take regular doses of Ibuprofen when you've got OA? My GP prescribed it for me, but I read in a library book that as OA is caused by degeneration rather than inflamation, it won't help. I don't want to take it if so, as it upsets my stomach when I do. What do you think? :?
    Thanks :)

    Naomi

    Dear Naomi

    Even in OA people can have localised inflammation for which Ibuprofen can be a good pain management resource, however if you are experiencing stomach upset it is probably unwise to carryon using it. If you feel you do need anti-inflammatories to cope with the pain speak to your doctor and explain you stomach problems and they can prescribe coated anti inflammatories which help to protect the stomach. In the mean time paracertamol can be quite effective for pain control provided you take them regularly rather than occasionally.

    I hope that helps to clarfy things.

    Best wishes

    Simona
  • woodbine
    woodbine Member Posts: 140
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks - I'll give the paracetamol a try.

    I've also rung the local Social Services Occupational Therapy dept. - but they said that they don't know if I can self-refer. I'm waiting to hear back from them.
    Thanks anyway

    Naomi
  • woodbine
    woodbine Member Posts: 140
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've now had a phonecall to say that they will accept my self-referal, and am just waiting for a date for the appointment.

    Thanks again

    Naomi