Osteopathic physician. These doctors, also known as osteopaths or DOs, or doctors of osteopathy, have training equivalent to medical doctors, or MDs, but a different overall philosophy. Diagnosis and treatment stem from the idea that many illnesses are connected to disorders in the musculoskeletal system. Some of these doctors to focus more on prevention and overall wellness than on treating disease, which, in contrast, is the focus in the traditional medical model. An osteopathic physician may be your primary-care doctor, or an osteopath may be a specialist, such as a rheumatologist.

Nurse practitioner. These professionals have advanced education and clinical training, providing these health care professionals with the expertise to manage patients’ overall care. They can be primary care practitioners, and can practice within a setting of physicians and other professionals or independently. They can provide diagnosis, medical care, medication and patient education. Some nurse practitioners are trained in specialty fields, such as rheumatology.

Physician assistant. These health care professionals provide care, such as physical exams, diagnosis and medications, as part of a physician practice under the supervision of a medical doctor. They do not provide care independently.

Registered nurse. These highly trained nurses work with the doctor. A nurse is likely to provide patient education materials and to explain how to follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribes. Some registered nurses specialize in rheumatology.

Pharmacist. These health professionals are licensed to dispense medicines. Pharmacists fill your prescriptions and can explain how medications work and counsel patients on drugs’ actions and side effects, as well as evaluate the potential for interactions among other medications you take. They can answer questions about both prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Physiatrist. A physiatrist is a physician who has additional specialized training in physical medicine and rehabilitation. This type of doctor may oversee your physical therapy program.

Podiatrist. These doctors have special training in diagnosing and treating foot problems such as bunions and hammer toes. If osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or another form of arthritis or injury affects your feet, you may see a podiatrist for evaluation and treatment, including orthopaedic inserts for shoes, as well as good surgery.

Psychiatrist. These medical doctors are specialists in mental health. They can evaluate, diagnose and prescribe medication for related problems, if needed, but not all of them do therapy. They can usually refer their patients to psychologists or other sources of help.