Orthopedic specialists help patients resolve issues with their bones, muscles, and joints. If you sustain an injury or experience unexplained musculoskeletal pain, your primary care physician may refer you to an orthopedic doctor. These are five things an orthopedic specialist can do for patients suffering from musculoskeletal pain:
During your first visit to an orthopedic specialist, your doctor will review your medical history with you. They will look at notes taken by your primary care doctor, as well as any other specialists you've seen. Your orthopedic doctor will also ask you questions about your symptoms to ascertain their duration and severity. They will also perform a physical exam, which may require you to perform certain tasks or move your body in certain ways, so your doctor can learn more about your issue.
Your orthopedic doctor may order additional tests to help them make an accurate diagnosis. When fractured bones are suspected, your orthopedic doctor may order x-rays of the affected part of your body. MRIs and CT scans can create images of soft tissue, which can help your doctor diagnose muscle and joint problems. These additional tests will help your doctor make the best treatment recommendations to help you get well.
3. Cortisone Injections
Inflammation is the body's natural response to injuries. It is triggered by the immune system and has several beneficial functions. However, excessive inflammation can prevent healing and cause pain. When dealing with chronic inflammation, your orthopedic specialist may recommend cortisone injections. Cortisone is a type of steroid that can reduce inflammation to improve your range of motion and relieve many types of pain. Orthopedic doctors can administer cortisone injections in their offices.
Sometimes, immobilization is necessary to aid the healing process. Bone fractures often require splints or plaster casts to help the broken bone heal in the correct position. Splints can also help people recover from repetitive stress injuries and sprains. If your doctor thinks you can benefit from wearing a splint, they may apply a splint designed to be worn for several weeks. If your condition requires less intensive splinting, you may be given a custom splint to wear at night or during certain activities.
Surgery is often used as a last resort because it is more invasive than other treatments. However, surgery can offer great results for people suffering from torn ligaments, repetitive stress injuries, and other conditions that do not heal on their own. If surgery is indicated for your condition, your doctor will walk you through the process, letting you know what you can expect every step of the way.
For more information on orthopedics, contact a doctor near you.