Orthopedic Clinic Questions and Answers
Orthopedic doctors specialize in helping treat all sorts of pain such as knee pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, back pain, neck pain, elbow pain, spine, and more! The Spine and Orthopedic Institute is here to help treat your pain and help you on the road to recovery.
What does an orthopedic doctor do?
An orthopedic doctor focuses on the care of and preventative treatment of injuries and pain in the body’s joints, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Orthopedic doctors are trained in ailments related to the musculoskeletal system, not just for treatment to an injury or rehabilitative treatment after an injury or surgery, but also in preventative measures to avoid serious injury or surgery. Patients can schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor if they have concerns relating to pain in the musculoskeletal system that is recurring, chronic or not responding to current at-home treatment options. The orthopedic doctor can perform a complete exam of the area, as well as gather information about the source of the issue, to diagnose the source of the pain and provide an effective treatment plan. Orthopedic doctors can have a general practice, focusing on and treating a wide variety of issues relating to the tendons, muscles, ligaments, bones and joints of the body. They can also choose to further train and specialize in a specific area of orthopedic surgery such as trauma surgery, sports related injuries, or they can focus on injuries associated with specific parts of the musculoskeletal system such as hip and knee replacements, ACL injuries, spinal issues or a number of other scopes of practice.
What does an orthopedic exam consist of?
An orthopedic exam will be a detailed exam to determine the extent of the issue at hand, how the issue came to be, what treatments have been tried to date and what treatments can be attempted to try to improve the issue prior to having to have surgery. The first step will be a questionnaire to determine when the pain started, what you were doing at the time, when the pain is aggravated or when it isn’t as noticeable, what the extent of the pain is and what treatments the patient has been trying so far. The doctor will also want to know about any existing health conditions you have that could be contributing to the injury as well as your overall health and activity level. After the initial questionnaire the doctor will perform a physical exam of the area to pinpoint the area of pain, check for bruising and swelling, determine what types of movement cause further pain and discomfort and test your range of motion. Once these two steps have been completed, the doctor will review the results of their evaluations with you and recommend further testing as needed such as x-rays, an ultrasound or an MRI to help provide a clear diagnosis of the injury. Upon receiving the results, the doctor will review all of the information gathered and provide you with the diagnosis and work with you on a treatment plan. The preference would be to try to rehabilitate the area without having to go through the pain and recovery of surgery, so they may recommend a preventative treatment plan to try for a specified amount of time to monitor for improvements prior to recommending surgery.
What is the difference between orthopedic and orthopedist?
Orthopedic doctors and orthopedic surgeons, or orthopedists, often get mixed up. Both practices require many years of medical school training and can have a similar scope of practice in the diagnosis and recommendation of treatment for musculoskeletal concerns and injuries. The largest difference is in their scope of practice. An orthopedic doctor is able to diagnose and provide non-surgical treatment of injuries and concerns as they relate to a patient’s joints, muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. An orthopedist is an orthopedic surgeon, meaning that they can continue the practice of orthopedic care through to orthopedic surgery, where an orthopedic doctor cannot perform surgery.
Do I need a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon?
You don’t necessarily require a referral to an orthopedic surgeon to get an appointment however one may be required for your insurance coverage. It is a good idea to check with your insurance company prior to seeking the care of an orthopedic surgeon to find out their requirements for coverage. As wait times can be quite extensive for more specialized care beyond your family doctor’s practice, it is also a good idea to check in with your family doctor to see what treatment options they can offer prior to pursuing orthopedic care. Your doctor may be able to treat your concerns through their own training and expertise. If they feel that you need care beyond their scope of practice, they can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon. With the referral from your family doctor, you may be able to get into a specialist faster than you could if you reached out on your own. Your doctor’s office is also able to share your medical records with your permission with the orthopedic surgeon’s office so the surgeon can get an understanding of your concern or injury prior to your appointment to get a jump start on your treatment plan. We serve patients from Medina OH, Middleburg Heights OH, Akron OH, Parma OH, and Wellington OH.