Across the U.S., more than 28 million people experience musculoskeletal difficulties. These problems often cause major disruptions in people’s lives, preventing them from fully engaging in work, relationships, and hobbies. Many turn to prescription medication or even illegal drugs to cope with the discomfort, only causing further issues as they try to manage debilitating pain. Whether it’s back, knee, or shoulder pain, strains, or sprains, it’s no wonder many people are wondering: do I need to see an orthopedic doctor? At ClinTech Center for Spine Health, we’re proud to be Johnstown’s first choice when it comes to orthopedic issues.
What is an Orthopedic Doctor?
First things first, you need to understand what an orthopedic doctor does. Orthopedic specialists are physicians who specialize in musculoskeletal ailments. An orthopedic doctor will use both surgical and non-surgical strategies to treat certain issues, such as sports injuries, spine or joint deformities, tumors, degenerative diseases, infections, and trauma.
Signs You Need to See an Orthopedic Specialist
Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist.
You struggle to perform daily tasks.
As we age, it is common for things we once found easy to progressively become less comfortable because our joints and bones become stiffer with age. That being said, it should not be difficult to perform daily activities, such as going up stairs or taking your dog for a walk. If you are finding that daily tasks are too uncomfortable to perform, that indicates that it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist.
You are always in pain.
You may experience discomfort for a day or two after a vigorous workout, or potentially feel some pain after straining a muscle. However, this pain should go away as the injury heals. If you are experiencing chronic pain, meaning pain that lasts longer than three months, it is a clear indication that you need to see a specialist. While occasional discomfort is a part of life, it is not normal to be in constant pain, and if you are, you need medical help.
Your range of motion is not what it once was.
Does it feel like your joints are getting stiffer every day? Are you having a hard time performing tasks such as reaching for the top shelf or bending over to tie your shoes? You should see a specialist as soon as you can, as these signs point to a joint disease such as arthritis. The sooner you see medical attention, the earlier you can intervene with your condition.
You’re feeling off-balance.
If you’re struggling to be stable when you stand or walk, this indicates something is wrong with your joints. If you feel shaky or wobbly when you’re sitting, standing, or walking, it’s time to call a medical professional. An orthopedic doctor should be able to help you.
You suffered a soft tissue injury and seen no improvement.
Soft tissue injuries, such as a sprained ankle or twisted knee, are very common and can often be treated at home. Resting, icing, and elevating these injuries is often sufficient for treating them, and within 48 hours, you should feel less pain and see less swelling. However, if there are few or no improvements after two days, it’s time to ask for an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.
Physical therapy isn’t helping.
Many people who suffer injuries are able to treat them with the use of physical therapy. However, sometimes a condition requires more treatment. If you have been undergoing physical therapy and seeing little or no improvement in pain or discomfort, make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible.
You’ve been told you need a joint replacement.
If you have recently been told by a doctor that you’re going to need to replace one of your joints, it’s essential that you get a second opinion. There is a chance that there are other, less invasive treatment options that might work for you.
At ClinTech Center for Spine Health, we would be happy to address whatever concerns you have about your musculoskeletal system. If you see any of these signs in yourself, it’s time to promptly make an appointment so we can begin treating you. Contact our spine clinic in Johnstown for an orthopedic doctor.