Most people are referred to an orthopedic doctor after a visit to their regular physician or family doctor. In some cases, however, an individual may realize they have a specific problem, such as back or joint injury, and may book an appointment with a specialist without the need for a referral.
Many people assume that an orthopedic doctor only deals with the skeletal system, and the bones and joints in the body. These specialists also work with muscle and tendon injuries, especially since the skeletal system and the muscles and tendons are so uniquely integrated.
Common issues an orthopedic doctor will see include pain in the joints, neck and back pain, broken or worn joints, repetitive use or overuse injuries. They also see conditions where there is some type of chronic issue with the musculoskeletal system.
What to Expect
When you first see your orthopedic doctor, it can be a bit unnerving if you aren’t sure what to expect. It will be similar to going to your general practitioner, and typically a nurse or assistant will take your medical history and perform basic tasks to collect data about your symptoms or concerns.
Be as specific as possible when you are discussing the problem. It is not a good time to minimize any pain, discomfort or mobility problems you are experiencing. A good idea is to write down symptoms or concerns you have as you notice them and then bring your list to the orthopedic doctor.
What will Happen?
Depending on the specifics of your injury or discomfort, the orthopedic doctor will typically request x-rays, imaging, or other types of tests. Unlike old-style x-rays, test results are almost immediately available through computer-based software, allowing your orthopedic doctor to highlight any areas of tissue or bone damage.
Then, based on what is found to be problematic through testing, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan. This could include non-invasive types of treatments, such as physical therapy or medications. If a serious issue is discovered, such as a severely damaged joint or a significant problem with the lower back or neck, surgery may be discussed as an option.
Typically, your orthopedic doctor will not recommend surgery as a first step in treating the issue. In many cases, physical therapy, medication for pain management and rest is all that is required for the body to heal.
At Suburban Orthopaedics, we treat all types of musculoskeletal issues, diseases, and pain. To learn more about our orthopedic doctors and staff, see us online at www.suburbanortho.com.