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Newbie – long waiting time for Rhumatologist

  • By icecreamtina

    Hi I am jus new to this. I went to the doctors a few months back as I was having back pain that was waking me in the night and I was stiff in the mornings. I also had scaly patches on my scalp which the doctor said was psoriasis and asked me to get my bloods checked. A few weeks later I was called in as they found inflammation in my blood. The doctor referred me to a rheumatologist as it might be psa, she said the waiting time was unpredictable. I went back today as I am still experiencing this back pain. I asked a different doctor the waiting time and he said the standard waiting time at the minute is 98 weeks!! Has anyone else had to wait this long?
    I have read psa can be trigger by strep throat? I had tonsillitis before the back pain and a week later pain in my ribs that lasted for about 10 weeks. Has anyone else experienced rib pain? Would this be related?

  • By Sean

    98 weeks? Yeah, that’s ridiculous. Rheumies DO take a while to get into see – 2 to 3 months usually. But nearly two years is not acceptable by any means. A lot of damage can happen to your body over that amount of time if your PsA is left untreated.

  • By VickiN Moderator

    @icecreamtina, first of all, I love that handle! Gosh, 98 weeks is a long time. In Canada it is not abnormal for it to be up to a year (I heard a crazy story of a 4 year wait once), but it really depends on how many Rheumys are in the area. Have you asked your Doc if there are other Rheumatologists that may be farther away that have shorter waiting lists? I’m sorry this is such a struggle for you.
    Infections can be a trigger for PsA onset, or PsA flares. We have some more info here:

    What Are Common Triggers for PsA?

    I’m used to hearing strep being a trigger of psoriasis (particularly guttate), but I’m not sure if it’s more likely than another bacteria to cause PsA.
    Big hugs,
    -Victoria, Community Moderator

  • By EINNA

    I wonder what it is about rheumatology that is causing the shortage of this specialty’s physicians. I have to travel nearly 2 hours to the closest rheumatologist in my state. And his waiting time was a few months. I can only drive short distances as my hands are the most problematic part of my PsA, which means I must rely on someone to take me to my appointment. My rheumatologist is quite understanding & stretches my appointments a bit further apart to minimize my traveling. He’s also confident that I am a compliant patient & my husband & I run a medical practice (so we’re pretty self sufficient once we’ve been educated & are being treated). I find that PsA isn’t quite on the top of the list with regards to what a rheumatologist is most familiar with. I often find myself educating my physician with recent research & symptoms that do not apply to Rh or osteoarthritis. PsA is quite frustrating as there are few physicians in the nation who devote a large amount of their practice to this disease. And yes, strep throat is indeed a trigger. PsA often causes rib pain, better known as costochondritis. Had a little attack of it myself a few weeks ago. The usual anti inflammatories & heat or ice (whatever is your method of relief) helps ease the pain. Good luck finding a physician. I hope it’s much sooner than what you have been told it might be.

  • By Sean

    I likely had PsA for many years without ever knowing what it was. When I lifted weights (and I cringe now at the damage I must have been doing to my spine) my arms would ache but I always just wrote it off as “bicep tendonitis.” Costochondritis was my first clue that something bigger was going on. I had a bad bout of bronchitis about just about four years ago to the day. After it was over my ribs ached. By summer they STILL ached. That’s when I knew something was going on.

    Because there are so few available rheumatologists, my first one was terrible. But me on a dangerous drug that I should NOT have been on long term. I was fortunate that my wife landed a job with the largest employer, which gave us insurance that gave us access to the Cleveland Clinic, which has the 3rd rated rheumatology department in the nation.

    Even for them PsA is a tricky diagnosis. My bloodwork was all within the standard range. It was a combination of my rib pain, inflammation in my right wrist reveled by an MRI and pitted fingernails that led to my PsA diagnosis and to my eventually getting on Humira.

  • By Cindie

    I waited 5 months for my appointment & I called 4 different ones & they all had the same wait time.

  • By lydiamene

    You definitely need to find a Dr that will see you sooner just to get you on the right treatment. My General Practice physician is the one that diagnosed my PsA but I have been going to him for years. I had the psoriatic patches for ten years before I had the PsA to go with it. The Rhuemy Dr.s misdiagnosed me as RA for a couple of years. Eventually after seeing all Rhuemy Dr.s in town my General Dr. Got me on Prednisone after nothing else worked and other meds now it’s under control…kind of. I also have lupus and fibromyalgia. You have to watch for those autp immune diseases.