An orthopedist treats conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, often injuries the patient incurs while playing sports or due to wear and tear over time. Orthopedic surgery is a specialty within the specialty. Here’s ten things your orthopedist wants you to know so next time you visit, you have a step up on making the most of your experience.
- Orthopedic doctors don’t only treat children.
This is partially true, in that an orthopedist treats anyone with a problem relating to the musculoskeletal system. Sports related injuries account for many of the visits made to orthopedic doctors, but adults and children may suffer from orthopedic issues/injuries while playing sports.
- Depending on your injury, you may want to head strait to your orthopedist.
If you’ve experienced a trauma to a tendon, bone, joint or nerve then it is important to see an orthopedic doctor right away. With this type of injury a primary care physician would refer the patient to an orthopedist any way. If your medical plan allows for heading straight to the specialist, then visiting your orthopedist first will save time, allowing a treatment plan to begin earlier.
- An orthopedic doctor will diagnose your condition, based on information that’s made available.
Your orthopedist expect his relationships with his patients to be collaborative. That said, knowing how you were injured and a timeline of your injury will assist the doctor in diagnosing your case. If your injury is sports related, describe to the physician the moment in which you felt the pain. How did you land if you fell? What did you hear or feel in the affected area? Is this an isolated incident, or has it happened before or has been building up? The answers to these and other questions are beneficial for a correct diagnosis, but also for devising an effective treatment plan.
- Persons who suffer with chronic pain should see an orthopedic doctor.
Left untreated, chronic pain will not dissipate on its own. Ignoring symptoms and failing to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist could exacerbate your painful situation, affecting mobility and even your independence. The sooner you’re treated, the better off you will be.
- Take notes.
Your orthopedist may go into detail about your condition (they know the care is in the details!). So when you see your orthopedist, or bring someone with you to help remember important points regarding your musculoskeletal diagnosis. If you can’t bring someone with you, take notes. Then read them back to your doctor to make sure you have captured everything.
- Advocate for yourself.
Don’t leave the office with asking the appropriate questions. You have patient rights and deserve to know what’s best for you or your loved one.
- Follow through with the doctor’s treatment plan.
Visiting an orthopedic specialist and then ignoring his advice is a waste of your time – and theirs too! Getting better will only happen if you follow the doctor’s orders. If you are prescribed medicine, take it as prescribed. If part of your treatment plan includes rest, physical therapy, or wearing a supportive device, do it!
- Every diagnosis doesn’t involve surgery or pain killers.
In most cases painkillers and/or surgery aren’t warranted. With regard to pain killers, anti-inflammatories work very well by reducing the inflammation that causes pain. On average, surgical procedures, unless for an emergency, are used as a last resort, when pain management and other treatments have proven to be ineffective.
- Non-invasive treatments are often ordered by an orthopedist to relieve pain.
Your treatment plan may include rest, physical therapy, acupuncture, or pain management injections. Your doctor will work with you to devise a plan that is customized to work right for you. Your input is key to develop this plan. Don’t be surprised if your orthopedist recommends non-invasive treatments before anything more drastic.
- Even with the most comprehensive care, healing takes time.
There is no magic pill or overnight solution to ensure effective care. On the contrary: healing takes time and a willingness on your part as the patient to work alongside your orthopedic care team to ensure healing is maximized. Healing won’t happen overnight. But it will happen.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, we focus on a patient’s total well being. Our goal is to restore you to full function, whether after injury or surgery. Call today to request an appointment. You may reach us here 210-692-7400.