Our Los Angeles orthopedic doctor can help you diagnose and treat your pain.
Your body’s musculoskeletal system is made up of more than 300 bones and joints, plus an assortment of soft tissues and nerves. All it takes is a problem with just one of these structures to trigger some type of discomfort or dysfunction. Fortunately, most of the pain you’re likely to experience with these parts is often a temporary inconvenience.
- The primary role of a Los Angeles orthopedic doctor is to diagnose the specific source of your pain and recommend treatment options likely to provide relief.
- Knowing when to visit this type of specialist isn’t always easy to figure out, but there are certain signs you can watch for.
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It’s Difficult to Perform Daily Activities
It’s one thing to have occasional knee, shoulder, or lower back pain, and another thing entirely to wake up every day with discomfort that makes it difficult to perform your daily routine. Pain that’s triggered by spending hours at work sitting in the same position or from overdoing it at the gym is usually reversible with some adjustments to your habits, such as improving your posture and modifying your workout routines. If, on the other hand, you’re struggling with completing basic tasks like walking up steps or just going for a walk, a Los Angeles orthopedic doctor may be able to tell you why.
Pain Has Become Chronic In Nature
Neck or back pain from sleeping in an awkward position or muscle strain may be immediately noticeable and distracting, but it often goes away within a few days or weeks. If your discomfort is caused by nerve compression, an underlying condition such as spinal stenosis, or a torn or damaged knee, ankle, or shoulder ligament, your pain is more likely to become chronic, defined as pain lasting 3-6 months or more. If this happens, an orthopedic specialist can determine what’s going on with thorough examinations, an understanding of your medical history, and techniques such as epidural injections for diagnostic purposes. With the right combination of treatments, chronic pain may reach a point where it either goes away entirely or becomes manageable.
Range of Motion Is Limited
Pain isn’t the only reason to see a Los Angeles orthopedic doctor. There are many conditions or injuries that can limit range of motion enough to affect how you move throughout your day or participate in your favorite activities or sports. Even if you’re not experiencing significant pain, anything that keeps your joints from fully extending shouldn’t be ignored. A limited range of motion may also be an early sign of a disease that affects bones and joints like arthritis or joint diseases that are difficult to diagnose without specialized tests. Another reason to see an orthopedic doctor at the first sign of range of motion problems is to avoid damaging joints that may be affected by arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other progressive conditions with early intervention and treatment.
Soft Tissue Injuries Aren’t Healing After 24-48 Hours
Acute soft tissue injuries, like what occurs when an ankle is twisted, usually show signs of improving within 24-48 hours. With such injuries, the RICE method is often recommended as the first attempt at relief. If rest, ice, compression, and elevation isn’t easing tissue inflammation and pain within a few days, you may benefit from an evaluation by a Los Angeles orthopedic doctor. Sprains, strains, contusions, and conditions like tendinitis are among the types of soft tissue injuries that may be treated by an orthopedic specialist. Steroid injections, splinting or bracing, and TENS units are among the treatments that may be suggested by an orthopedist to address soft tissue problems.
Other Treatment Attempts Haven’t Been Effective
Another reason to see an orthopedic doctor is because other treatments aren’t providing sufficient relief. In situations like this, an orthopedist typically looks at a patient’s previous treatment attempts and performs tests to determine if a correct diagnosis has been made. If surgery is the best option for meaningful relief, there are many minimally invasive procedures that may minimize surgery risks and shorten recovery times.
While a Los Angeles orthopedic doctor strives to help patients safely get back to their normal activities without pain, there’s an equal emphasis on overall health and prevention. For instance, if you’ve experienced a sports-related injury, you may receive advice on how to properly warm up and avoid overusing certain muscles. And being referred to an orthopedic specialist doesn’t necessarily mean surgery is your only option. Orthopedic doctors are also adept at performing comprehensive diagnostic tests and evaluations to pinpoint likely sources of musculoskeletal or neurological pain. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, many patients respond better to non-surgical treatment recommendations.