So your joints are stiff, as evidenced by the cracking sounds they always make. A slight movement will cause you tremendous pain. Something’s wrong, terribly wrong. You know it’s time to seek an orthopedic doctor, but where do you start?
Your best bet would be to head over to your local GP and to ask whether he knows of a good orthopedic surgeon, chances are that he’s got a handy list of them. Get his opinions as to which is better and the reasons why, he might have heard back from patients he’s referred in the past, and he’ll be a rather reliable information source. You could also ask relatives or friends who have had to seek the help of an orthopedic surgeon in the past, they would be able to tell you from first-hand experience whether the doctor was good. Ask as many people as you can, so that you can filter out irrelevant or else false information. Be sure to ask around and get informed opinions, as a wrong choice can cause you an awful lot of pain. If all else fails, you could always surf review sites and browse through the opinions of the general community, so as to have a good idea of which doctor would be most suitable for you. Do be aware that some reviewers would deliberately upload misleading information, therefore be sure to check on the credentials of the reviewer before deciding on the orthopedic.
Credentials / Experience
Now that you’ve got a few doctors in mind, look up their qualifications. Was it board certified and does it adhere to the state guidelines? It would also be useful to know how long they’ve been in the field, and how satisfied his patients were with their treatment. The larger the number of happy patients, the more likely you’ll not have a bad experience. If you needed to have surgery done, look up the success rates of the surgeon, it’ll be a reliable measure of his competence.
Meet the doctor once to find out whether he’s the correct one for you. Sit down and explain your symptoms.
Does he listen carefully and run the necessary tests to determine your exact condition, or does he simply prescribe generic treatment and medication? If you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to make a sound judgment, bring a chaperone along. Although professionalism and being detail-oriented are important factors in picking the right orthopedic doctor, it’s all a matter of personal preference as to which is the perfect doctor for you. Go with your gut instincts, if you dislike a particular doctor although he has higher credentials and a better reputation than another doctor you had in mind, go with the latter. It will make you feel more at ease.
How much are you willing to fork out? Are the treatment and prescription fees commensurate to your budget? Find a local surgeon whose fees match those that you are going to pay. It would also be good to agree on a predetermined figure beforehand, to ensure that the final payment does not exceed your financial budget. Ask friends and relatives who had seen an orthopedic doctor before, so as to get an idea as to the approximate fees and costs.
There you go. You’re well on your way to pick a orthopedic doctor that will meet your needs perfectly.