After a primary care physician diagnoses a patient with a form of arthritis, that patient will be referred to a doctor who specializes in joint pain. This kind of doctor is called a rheumatologist. A large number of rheumatology patients are arthritis sufferers.
The rheumatologist will perform both a physical examination of the joint or joints affected and laboratory tests to check for telltale signs of inflammation or infection. If arthritis is suspected, X-ray or computerized tomography imaging is usually used to confirm the diagnosis. Once the rheumatologist confirms arthritis, treatment options for the patient are then reviewed and the best course of treatment is decided.