Your medical needs can often be kept to an annual doctor’s visit and as-needed appointments for maybe a sinus infection or other temporary illness. However, the unexpected does happen, and you might need help navigating the world of specialists. One common specialist is an orthopedic doctor. This specialty covers a major part of the body: the musculoskeletal system. Henry Community Health is here to demystify orthopedics and help you understand when it may be the right time to find an orthopedic doctor near you. 

What is the musculoskeletal system?

The musculoskeletal system starts with your bones and includes the things around them: muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and connective tissue. These body parts are what make movement possible. That is why it’s very common to require orthopedic care as you age because it helps you deal with: 

  • Arthritis
  • General joint inflammation
  • Knee and hip pain
  • Lower back pain

There’s much more that orthopedic services can help you with, including injuries at any age, like broken bones and torn ligaments. If you’re unsure about your particular needs, you should always start by talking to your primary care provider. It is often required that you get a referral to an orthopedic specialist before you can make an appointment. 

What is an orthopedic surgeon vs. an orthopedic specialist?

An orthopedic specialist (often referred to as an orthopedic doctor or orthopedist) and an orthopedic surgeon both deal with the musculoskeletal system. An orthopedic doctor can choose to also specialize in orthopedic surgery, making them an orthopedic surgeon. They will provide surgical services for things like joint replacements, soft tissue repair, and arthroscopy. However, both are highly skilled in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of orthopedic issues. Both will also explore non-surgical options first as a treatment option in an attempt to avoid surgery if possible. 

Why do I still need orthopedic services after my surgery or other procedure?

Orthopedic services can extend beyond surgical procedures or even minimally invasive procedures. Your provider may recommend alternative options to help you with ongoing improvement. These may include: 

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy 

Recovery from a procedure may require these ongoing services to maximize results, so take time to listen to your provider’s recommendations. 

How can I continue to improve my health after an orthopedic surgery or other procedure? 

Orthopedic procedures will give you better results if you put some thought and time into your recovery plan. You can work with your provider to include complementary services, such as physical therapy, and there are things you can do on your own to help your body bounce back. You can talk to your primary care provider about a strong diet and exercise plan that aligns with your particular goals and needs. You can also ask about local facilities that your provider recommends for ongoing fitness classes and other health-related services to keep you healthy and informed. 

At Henry Community Health, we have a variety of orthopedic services at the Henry County Center for Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and classes at Healthridge Wellness Center to help you keep moving. You can find quality healthcare and experienced providers who are prepared to listen, talk, and guide you to better health. We’ve got you covered!