The Top Reasons to Seen an Orthopedic Surgeon or Doctor
When you’re hurt or injured, it can be difficult to determine what type of medical professional you need at that moment.
What exactly is the difference between an orthopedic doctor and a primary care physician?
Many people ask that very same question. A primary care physician is someone who practices general medicine. They, of course, can treat you. However, an orthopedic doctor – sometimes called an orthopedic surgeon – is someone who specializes in the muscles, soft tissues, and skeletal systems of the body. If you’re hurt or injured, you’re better off with an orthopedic doctor because it is their specialty.
Reasons to See an Orthopedic Doctor
Here are some of the top reasons why people see orthopedic doctors:
- Acute neck and spine injuries
- Neck pain caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or meningitis
- Strains and sprains of muscles and ligaments
- Osteoarthritis and worn joints
- Compressed nerves
- Ruptured or bulging disc
- Rotator cuff injury
- Sports injuries
- SLAP tears
- Labral tears
- Tennis elbow
- AC joint pathology
- Shoulder pain
- Acute and subacute neck and low back injuries
- Chronic neck and lower back pain
- Axial and radicular pain
- Lumbar herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Facet joint dysfunction
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fracture
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Trigger finger
- Mallet finger
- Joint Instability
- Tendon injury
- De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
- Dupuytren’s disease
- Meniscal tears
- ACL tears
- Patellofemoral disorder
Clearly, this is a very long list of reasons why a person may potentially see an orthopedic doctor. In fact, many patients will go in either due to pain, discomfort, or lack of mobility, and not knowing what exactly is wrong until their orthopedic doctor has had a chance to examine them and run tests such as an MRI or x-rays.
In many cases, an orthopedic doctor is able to make numerous recommendations for treatment. In fact, at-home treatments such as heat/ice therapy, compression wraps, over-the-counter medications, and rest go a long way. However, if more aggressive forms of treatment are needed, your orthopedic doctor can help.
They may suggest prescription medication, anti-inflammatory injections, physical therapy and rehabilitation, activity modification, autologous blood product injections, steroid injections, and advanced imaging, just to name a few.
It may take one or two attempts at treatment before you and your orthopedic doctor land on one that’s truly beneficial and helps restore your quality of life. In the event that nothing is working or your condition is clearly severe, your orthopedic doctor may recommend surgery.
Orthopedic Surgeons – What They Do and Who They Treat
Think of orthopedic surgeons as the final wave of orthopedic treatment. Because surgery is always reserved as a last resort, a surgeon will go over your surgical options should other methods prove unsuccessful. There are a few different types of orthopedic surgery, but the main two are joint replacement surgery (also called replacement arthroplasty) and minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.
Joint replacement surgery is an orthopedic procedure where parts of the joint or the entirety of the joint are replaced with an implant. When the surgery is done correctly, it will accomplish two things. First, it will relieve the patient’s pain and discomfort. The second thing is that it should give the patient back their full mobility of the joint. This kind of surgery can be performed on small joints, such as those found in the hands, or large joints like the knee, elbow, shoulder, or hip. Patients should keep in mind that this is an elective surgery, and the recovery time will be longer compared to minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.
Arthroscopy is a method of evaluating and treating joint problems. It is minimally invasive and low risk compared to traditional open surgery. That’s because this version of surgery uses a very small pinhole camera that is inserted into the joint through an incision. The fiber-optic video camera is able to examine the inside of the joint, which proves quite helpful to your orthopedic surgeon who is in charge of diagnosing the extent of your issue. Additionally, small surgical tools can be inserted through incisions so that they can work on the joint.
The great thing about this surgery is that it’s minimally invasive, which means that patients recover much more quickly and generally experience less post-op pain. Scarring is usually minimal. When it comes to orthopedic surgery, arthroscopy is the preferred choice by patients and doctors, when it is possible.
How to Contact an Orthopedic Doctor
If you have any of the aforementioned symptoms or have incurred an injury through blunt force trauma or a sports-related injury, don’t hesitate to reach out to an orthopedic doctor. Remember to check out online ratings and reviews before committing to one – or ask your trusted family physician for a referral.