Pain may be subjective, but one thing is sure, everybody feels it. The individual perception of pain varies from barely noticeable and slightly annoying to persistent and severe. But, when pain is in a body joint, the effects tend to have rippling consequences. So what do you do when joint pain is so bad that it permeates your daily life? In most cases, it’s beneficial to see an orthopedic specialist.
What’s an Orthopedic Specialist?
It’s best not to waste time when it comes to musculoskeletal injuries and impairments. Injuries that cause the type of pain that burns or aches deeply in a joint or bone is often a sign of a condition or disorder that may benefit from orthopedic treatment.
Many people associate joint pain with old age, but that’s not the only cause. Inflammatory ailments like arthritis are extremely prevalent across all age groups and are the primary cause of bone, muscle, and joint injuries, wounds, and diseases. According to the CDC, one out of every four adults develops arthritis, and of that number, 25 percent will experience arthritis-induced joint pain.
Besides treating osteoarthritis, orthopedic specialists have the knowledge and expertise to tackle musculoskeletal concerns that may impact mobility, comfort, and lifestyle that most general doctors don’t. There’s nothing wrong with going to the family physician for minor aches and pains — and often family physicians can provide a helpful referral to a specialist. When advanced or specialized care or surgery becomes likely due to joint pain caused by accidents, medical conditions, or severe injuries, it’s beneficial to go to an orthopedic specialist.
Why See an Orthopedic Specialist for Joint Pain?
Orthopedic specialists help patients save time because they have faster access to advanced orthopedic medical treatments. They make it possible for patients to get back to their normal lives, joint pain-free.
Other symptoms eventually occur with severe joint pain, such as stiffness, grinding, etc. Moving the affected limb quickly, steadily, or easily is often difficult. Many people end up experiencing a decreased range of motion or limb dysfunction from a young age due to injuries or illness, while others develop it from growing older. One thing is clear, however. Osteoarthritis is one of the biggest threats to joint health today.
Additionally, conditions that lead to joint pain are often progressive and have no cure. People with osteoarthritis are more likely to benefit from orthopedic treatment than care from a general practitioner. For progressive health conditions like osteoarthritis, advanced treatment becomes necessary at some point.
How Can Orthopedic Care Help With Joint Pain
Joint pain caused by the deterioration of bone, cartilage, or joint fluid (synovial) requires care from an orthopedic doctor who specializes in joint health. An orthopedic specialist can provide appropriate treatment options sooner, so patients don’t have to live with the painful and potentially debilitating effects of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions and injuries.
Joint pain is often one of the first symptoms of arthritis. Once the condition develops, it’s only a matter of time before the disease destroys enough bone and joint cartilage tissue to cause the bones of affected limbs to rub and scrape together. This kind of pain causes discomfort and mobility challenges in many and can be troublesome to manage without medication, physical therapy, or surgery.
Many people benefit from medication to manage their symptoms. Others manage their pain with lifestyle changes. Surgery, including total joint replacement surgery, is also a safe and effective treatment for joint pain, for people who don’t have success with other treatment methods.
Types of Orthopedic Surgery
Joint injuries and disorders are the most common injuries orthopedic specialists treat. Surgery is often the best option, the safest and most effective way to replace damaged bone and cartilage since these tissues don’t heal themselves. Successful surgery can give patients the freedom to move their limbs and joints without fear of pain or discomfort. Orthopedic surgeons can perform the following types of joint replacement orthopedic surgery:
Knee replacements are beneficial to those with pain in or surrounding the knee joint and have trouble moving or bending their leg normally. Symptoms caused by the friction of damaged bones rubbing can become worse without proper care. Knee replacement surgery is done to remove the damaged portions of the knee joint and replace them. Patients regain mobility without pain.
Hip replacements are performed on patients with health conditions or injuries that impair the movement of the hips. The hips have ball-and-socket joints that are delicate. When damaged, pain, stiffness, and movement restrictions can occur. Hip replacement surgery removes the dysfunctional portions of bone and cartilage and replaces them with better and more functional components.
Shoulder replacements involve an orthopedic surgeon removing the upper portion of the arm bone and damaged bone socket tissue to install a metal ball and plastic prosthesis. Some orthopedic patients also require rotator cuff repair, also known as reverse shoulder replacement. The main difference between the two procedures is the upper portion of the arm bone (humerus) remains intact in reverse shoulder replacement surgery.
Memorial Hospital of Gardena Orthopedic Specialists
When pain, illness, or injury strikes that affect bone, muscle, or joint health, the best place to go is to an orthopedic specialist nearby. Fortunately, Memorial Hospital of Gardena has a multi-speciality orthopedic clinic that provides a wide variety of orthopedic services, including fracture management for all extremities and hips and minimally invasive joint replacement surgery. Our board-certified specialists and experienced staff are committed to helping patients heal so they can get back to moving and living with minimal pain and limitations.