Signs, Symptoms, and Injuries to Look For
Nobody likes being in pain. It affects not only our physical well-being, but also our emotional and mental states. Fortunately, we live in a time where there are several treatment options and specialists available to us for our healthcare needs. In fact, there are so many options available that sometimes it can be difficult to decide where to go in the event of injury or chronic pain. For most, the default response would be to visit their primary care doctor since this is the person most familiar with their healthcare history.
In certain cases, it actually makes more sense to bypass your primary care doctor and go straight to an orthopedic specialist. This will not only save you money from an initial co-pay with your primary care doctor, it will also save you precious time that is better spent getting on the road to recovery.
What Exactly Does an Orthopedic Specialist Do?
Your primary care physician is going to be trained in preventing and treating a wide range of conditions and ailments. They are generally considered to be “the first wave” in treating patients, but in cases of severe or chronic pain, it’s not uncommon for them to refer patients over for more elevated forms of treatment. This is where orthopedic specialists enter the picture.
Orthopedic doctors specialize in the musculoskeletal system, which is made of your bones, joints, nerves, tendons, and ligaments all throughout the body. Virtually any chronic pain or trauma – from the neck all the way down to your feet – can be diagnosed and treated by an orthopedic specialist. This includes sports-related injuries, pain from the overuse of certain joints, or conditions like arthritis, which require life-long management.
What Conditions Should I Reach Out to an Orthopedic Doctor For?
There are a wide range of conditions that can warrant you reaching out to an orthopedic doctor or specialist. Many of them have to do with sports-related injuries due to the physical toll these activities have on the body. For instance, if you’re a bowler and find that your shoulder, elbow, or wrist on the arm that you bowl with is in a lot of pain, it’s probably best to go straight to an orthopedic specialist rather than your primary care doctor. Any injury that you can trace back to exercise or some type of physical activity – such as a torn knee ligament or fractured bone – is going to be handled more quickly and efficiently by an orthopedic specialist.
Don’t feel like your pain or discomfort has to be sports-related. If you’re experiencing chronic pain (defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks), then you should definitely reach out to an orthopedic doctor, especially if it’s located in your neck or back. Pain originating in or around the spine needs to be treated in a timely fashion.
Soft tissue injuries, such as a sprained ankle or wrist, are another reason to reach out directly to an orthopedic doctor. A good rule of thumb is to see if the injury improves within 48 hours using at-home treatments such as rest and ice therapy. If the swelling hasn’t subsided and the pain continues to get worse, then you should contact a specialist about it.
Some other conditions that you want to keep an eye out for are limited range of motion, tightness in the joints, or feeling shaky/wobbly when doing basic things like sitting, standing, or walking. These symptoms, although tolerable to an extent, could be a sign of a larger problem such as arthritis, bone tumors, or osteoporosis.
What Kind of Treatment Can I Expect From an Orthopedic Doctor?
There are several treatments that an orthopedic doctor can administer depending on the location and severity of your condition. This could include prescribing medications not available over-the-counter, giving injections at the site of where your pain is, or putting you on a physical therapy plan intended to relieve your pain and increase your range of motion.
Orthopedic doctors can also perform several different types of arthroscopic surgeries. Minimally-invasive joint surgery isn’t appropriate for all injuries, so consulting with an experienced surgeon is an important part of the process. Rest assured, if you do require surgery, Mid-America Orthopedics KC has some of the best orthopedic surgeons in Kansas City.
How Do I Book an Appointment with an Orthopedic Doctor?
If you’re suffering from an injury or chronic pain as described above, then you should book an appointment to see one of our orthopedic doctors. The sooner we get you in and diagnosed, the sooner we can put you on a recovery plan that will hopefully reduce or eliminate your pain.
Our doctors have same day and next day availability, so book your appointment today.