• Give you the 4-1-1 on popular supplement cocktails

In some instances, vitamin complexes and nutrient supplements may help alleviate arthritis pain, but it can be tough to weed through the health claims and recognize the facts. “People with arthritis may be spending a lot of money on needless supplements that promise results,” says Frechman. An RD can evaluate and determine which supplements are beneficial and which are better left on the shelf.

  • Get Moving

People with arthritis need to keep moving, says Frechman. A dietitian can help people with arthritis make the most of their diets so they feel better, which in turn can help them move more.

Where to Get the Goods

When searching for a nutrition professional, it’s important to realize that not all nutritionists are created equal, and some aren’t even trained to deliver diet advice. 

“The term ‘nutritionist’ isn’t regulated,” says Frechman. “So while all RDs are nutritionists, not all nutritionists are RDs.” In fact, anyone can claim to be a nutritionist, regardless of whether they’ve completed the appropriate education.

An RD, on the other hand, must complete multiple layers of training. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, RDs must obtain a bachelor’s degree, fulfill an accredited nutrition curriculum, pass a rigorous registration exam, and complete extensive supervised training. What’s more, about half of all RDs hold advanced graduate degrees and many have earned certifications in specialized fields, including arthritis, diabetes and geriatric nutrition.

Plus, in many cases, insurance covers at least some portion of the cost for visits with a qualified RD; that’s not usually the case with a “nutritionist.” 

“Most insurance companies cover a dietitian for a certain number of visits,” says Frechman. But every policy is different, so check with your provider.

In the meantime, the best eating advice is to follow a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which can help you maintain a healthy body weight – one of the most important goals for improving arthritis pain.