A lot of people suffer from long term joint, muscle, or tendon pain, or chronic back pain. Indeed, according to James P DeVellis, there are 28 million people in this county who have musculoskeletal problems such as strains, sprains, overuse, and pain of the back, shoulder, and knee. There are allegations that, in many cases, this is down to them voluntarily engaging is misconduct, essentially not looking after themselves properly. Some even allege that there are local people who pretend to be a bit of an old fox with lots of ailments just so they can be signed off work or get a prescription for painkillers. Indeed, opioid painkiller abuse is constantly on the news. However, James P DeVellis believes this represents just a minority of people. At the same time, he believes some people are unnecessarily prescribed pain medication when they may just need specialist help from an orthopedic doctor.
James P DeVellis on What an Orthopedic Doctor Is
Orthopedic doctors are specialized in all medical issues relating to the musculoskeletal systems. They diagnose and treat patients, but also help to prevent problems and rehabilitate those who have been injured. These specialists work in hospital or in private practices and treat sports injuries, infections, joint problems, fractures, degenerative conditions, congenital abnormalities, and bone tumors. They work with the full spectrum of problems, from a minor sprain to a full hip replacement.
Anyone who is experiencing pain in their back, shoulders, hips, knees, or ankles may need to see an orthopedic specialist. Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- A limited ability in a certain body part, making it difficult to do certain things such as carrying grocery bags or walking up and down stairs.
- Experiencing pain in joints, tendons, and muscles that lasts for more than a day.
- Experiencing joint pain that gets worse at rest.
- Bruising or swelling following an injury to a joint.
- A limited range of motion, such as not being able to straighten the leg.
- Deformities of the joints.
- Infection symptoms such as redness, fever, inflammation, and/or heat.
- Unusual symptoms at the site of the pain.
Do You Need Surgery?
A lot of people worry that, if they go see an orthopedic specialist, they will be given surgery. However, that is last resort. They will do what they can to delay this, preferring minimally invasive treatments such as physical therapy and pain medication. It is only when this is no longer effective that surgery may be recommended. Some of the most common surgical procedures performed by an orthopedic specialist include:
- Hip, shoulder, knee, and ankle replacements.
- Back surgery.
- Arthroscopic procedures, which are important for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
The earlier someone goes to see an orthopedic specialist, the more likely it is that they will be able to receive minimally invasive treatment that does not involve opioid painkillers. Physical therapy in particular is highly effective and has helped people regain control of their quality of life.