When Should You See An Orthopedic Doctor?

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There are more than 28 million Americans who develop some sort of musculoskeletal problem each year. These include knee, shoulder, and back pain, sprains, strains, and overuse injuries. And that’s not even the whole list. Many of these people think that medication is the only solution for their life hindering issues. However many people have not considered this: Do I need to see an orthopedic doctor?

Let’s begin with a brief view into what an orthopedic doctor does. To put it into one sentence, these doctors specialize in issues, diseases, and injuries that pertain to the musculoskeletal system. They play a vital role in the diagnosis, treatment, preventions, and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal conditions. In short, they see it all on a daily basis.  Whatever issue people may have, there’s an orthopedic out there with the answer. They work both in hospitals and special practices and treat anything that ranges from infections, sport injuries, arthritis, osteoporosis, and bone tumors to name a few.

So how do you know when you are in need of calling on these medical heroes?

Here are eight signs to look for:

  1. Difficulty using a specific body part to perform daily functions (carrying grocery bags or walking up the steps).
  2. Pain in muscles, joints, or tendons that lasts longer than a few days.
  3. Pain in the joints that becomes more intense during periods of rest or at night.
  4. Any deformity of the joints.
  5. Signs of infection including heat, inflammation, fever, or redness.
  6. Swelling or bruising around the joint or injury.
  7. Limited range of motion, such as being unable to straighten your back or stiffness when standing.
  8. Unusual symptoms in the region of the pain

Orthopedic doctors are thankfully known to use surgery as a last resort for their patient’s musculoskeletal issues. They do everything possible to delay it as long as they can and instead use less invasive treatments such as medication and physical therapy. This ensures that patients are getting the proper treatment they need. Then, if these treatments no longer provide the needed relief for pain and other symptoms, they may advice on having surgery. Some common surgeries that orthopedic doctors perform include back surgery, and ankle, knee, shoulder, and hip replacements. They also perform a variety of arthroscopic procedures, which means they are able to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside of a joint.

Time is to be worked with on issues like these. The earlier patients are able to get advice about a musculoskeletal issue, the better and sooner you may be able to start treating the problem. Early treatment prevents an issue from becoming even more severe because of unnecessary irritation to the surrounding area. During an initial consultation with an orthopedic doctor, he or she will figure out the problem, get down to the cause, and then proceed to explain your treatment options. You may get some advice about pain management including medication and/or injections, rehabilitation and physical therapy. They will also include a potential time frame, and ongoing orthopedic care.

Whatever problem you may be experiencing with pain or your body’s ability to move, you can be sure that there is an orthopedic doctor out there that can help resolve the issue, and allow you to live a more enriched active life.