This is a great question – and one that all rheumatologists are used to hearing, discussing, and working through with our patients. We understand that you want relief from your pain and symptoms; and it can be frustrating for a patient to experience ongoing, chronic pain without a light at the end of the tunnel.

The good news is that rheumatologists are pushing for new treatment strategies and protocols and patients themselves are standing up advocating for research and advancements. Collaborating with CreakyJoints is one way patients can join a larger community to raise their voices.

Asking your doctor is among the best ways to find out about new treatments and clinical trials. You’ll find that most independent rheumatologists, like myself, are attending professional meetings and tracking current research published in peer-reviewed journals to provide the latest and most appropriate treatment options to our patients. Many of my colleagues at United Rheumatology are involved in supporting this research and clinical trials.

One point of caution: the Internet has sites with information on clinical trials involving arthritis and other rheumatologic illnesses: beware of misinformation. There are protocols and limitations to these trials and how participants are selected and enrolled. Just because you have osteoarthritis in the knee and hands does not mean you will be picked for a trial.

That said, discuss your interest in participating in a possible clinical trial with your doctor and find out about any new treatments that you may have read about in a patient community like CreakyJoints or on the Internet from a reputable website.

One last point: having patients willing to participate in trials and pushing for research funding is vital – let your voice be heard with your physician and with your policymakers.

Answered by Dr. Max Hamburger

Max I. Hamburger, M.D.

Dr. Hamburger is Founder and Executive Chairman of United Rheumatology LLC and Managing Partner of Rheumatology Associates of Long Island (RALI) as well as the President of the New York State Rheumatology Society. He served as Chief of Rheumatology at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center from 1988 until 2006, and is Emeritus Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at SUNY Stony Brook since 1980. He has been the lead author or author of over 50 publications. He has been honored by the Arthritis Foundation for his service to the Long Island Community, receiving the Regina Quick Award for Medical Excellence.

About Ask the Doctor

CreakyJoints works to inform, support and empower patients with all forms of arthritis. To connect our members directly with rheumatologists at the forefront of community-based care, CreakyJoints is collaborating with United Rheumatology to provide direct answers to your rheumatoid-related questions about symptoms, illnesses, treatments and research.

United Rheumatology is the pre-eminent service organization optimizing the practice of independent rheumatologists on behalf of patients. United Rheumatology helps rheumatologists advance the standard of care, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship, and manage the challenges of preserving an independent rheumatology practice.

If you have a rheumatology-related question, let us know what it is, and it might get featured as an answer from United Rheumatology.