June 11, 2024
How an Orthopedic Surgeon Treats Pain Management Cases

Pain is a sensation that all humans experience, yet it can be highly individualized. Everyone has their own threshold of pain and different ways of expressing it; some may cry out loudly while others may simply grimace. 

No matter how we express our discomfort or distress, the underlying cause is usually the same–we are feeling an unbearable ache and want relief from it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, pain management isn’t always easy to come by and can take a great deal of work on both the patient-side and medical professional sides. 

There are a lot of ways that people go about trying to fight pain. Whether it’s through ortho/back & spine, physical therapy, or something else entirely, each person has their own way of dealing with the ache that is not only unique to them but can be very effective in getting relief.

Pain management isn’t just about taking medications; it also involves lifestyle changes and other interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s important for patients to understand that there are a number of tools available for them to use when trying to manage pain so they can find the one(s) that works best for them. However, sometimes these interventions alone aren’t enough and more help from an outside source is needed in order to get back on track with life again. 

Today we’re going to be discussing how an orthopedic surgeon can help in the pain management process. Let’s take a look at what these surgeons do and how they can help you manage your pain. 

What Exactly is Pain?

Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. It’s an unpleasant experience that can range from mild to extreme, and it’s something that we all have experienced in some form or another. 

Unfortunately, pain can be hard to define because everyone experiences it differently; what may feel like a burning sensation for one person could be completely numb for another. 

Generally speaking, there are five stages of pain: 

  1. Stimuli: 
    • This is always the first step. Whether you’re touching a hot stove, getting a paper cut, part of a car accident, or just feeling the aches and pains of aging, something has to happen for the pain process to begin. 
  2. Transmission: 
    • This is when the stimulus that was sensed in step one gets sent up from your nerves and spinal cord toward your brain. 
  3. Perception: 
    • Once it reaches your brain, it’s interpreted as either a threat or annoyance depending on its intensity and duration. 
  4. Response/Reaction: 
    • Depending on how severe the perceived pain is, you may react differently; some people could scream out while others may just tense up their body parts affected by the pain. 
  5. Sensation: 
    • Finally, this is what we all know as “the actual feeling of pain” caused by stimulation or injury of nerve endings involved in the transmission process discussed earlier; here we can feel either a dull ache, sharp twinge, or burning sensation which will vary based upon type and severity of stimuli received beforehand.

All of this happens in a fraction of a second. In fact, it happens so quickly that you would perceive it as happening instantaneously, but that’s not actually how this kind of thing works. It takes time for the signals to travel from the affected area to the brain, even if that time is too short for us to be able to notice it.

When it comes to chronic pain, there are several common conditions that can cause this kind of discomfort and distress: 

  • Arthritis 
    • Caused by inflammation in joints which leads to swelling, stiffness, and aches.  
  • Fibromyalgia 
    • Widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mental fogging. 
  • Neuropathy
    • Nerve damage that leads to burning, numbness, or tingling sensations.
  •  Migraines 
    • Intense headaches that are often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light/sound. 
  • Low back pain 
    • A painful condition that is caused by any number of factors such as herniated disc, muscle strain, or sciatica.

Although there are many different types of chronic pain conditions out there, what they all have in common is a need for relief from the discomfort and distress they cause. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy to come by and often requires the help of a medical professional in order to find an effective solution. 

Pain Management After ACL Surgery

What is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical professional that specializes in treating musculoskeletal issues. They diagnose and treat conditions related to bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They are also experts in performing surgeries for various orthopedic-related injuries. 

Orthopedic surgeons can help with many different body parts including:  

  • Shoulders: 
    • This body part is complex and made up of many muscles, tendons, and ligaments that can be easily injured. An orthopedic surgeon can help diagnose the issue as well as provide treatment options such as surgery or physical therapy. 
  • Elbows: 
    • The elbow joint connects the upper arm to the lower arm and allows for a wide range of motion. If there’s an injury or tear in any of these parts then an orthopedic surgeon may need to be consulted in order to get it fixed properly. 
  • Hands: 
    • From gripping objects to typing on a keyboard all day, our hands are very important yet often neglected until something goes wrong with them. Orthopedic surgeons can help treat issues related to carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis which commonly occur due to overuse injuries from daily activities like knitting for example!  
  • Feet/ankles: 
    • Sprained ankles are common occurrences but if not treated correctly they could lead to more serious problems down line; this is where having access to a qualified medical professional (ortho doc) who specializes specifically in this area becomes an invaluable resource!  
  • Knees: 
    • A knee injury could put you out of commission for weeks if not months depending on severity so seeking attention from someone trained to handle the situation in the best way possible should always be considered an option. 

Orthopedic surgeons also have the ability to prescribe medications or physical therapy in order to help speed up the healing process. They can also perform surgeries if that’s what is needed in order for a patient to get relief from their pain and discomfort. 

That means that they’re excellent people to talk to about pain management, as they have the skills and knowledge to properly diagnose and treat any orthopedic-related issues you may be having. 

Orthopedic surgeons can specialize in a number of different areas including: 

  • Sports medicine: 
    • This specialty focuses on treating injuries related to sports and athletics. These surgeons are trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of injuries caused by physical activity. 
  • Trauma: 
    • This type of orthopedic surgeon specializes in treating broken bones or other types of trauma that may have occurred due to an accident or injury. • Pediatrics: Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in pediatrics are experts when it comes to diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal issues that affect children from birth through adolescence. They focus on providing care for conditions such as scoliosis and clubfoot as well as any other condition that can affect a child’s growth and development over time 
  • Joint replacement surgery: 
    • Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in joint replacement surgeries perform operations such as knee replacements, hip replacements, ankle replacements, etc for patients suffering from arthritis or traumatic injuries; these procedures help restore mobility which oftentimes improves the quality of life significantly!  
  • Spine surgery: 
    • If you suffer from back pain then consulting with a specialist is the first step towards finding a long-term solution; this type of doctor has extensive knowledge about spine anatomy which allows them to diagnose the source problem accurately before recommending an appropriate course of action (e.g., spinal fusion).  
  • Arthroscopy/Carpal Tunnel Surgery: 
    • An arthroscopic surgery is when a surgeon looks inside your joint with an endoscope in order to diagnose and treat any issues found there. This type of procedure can help relieve pain from conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. 
  • Foot and Ankle: 
    • Orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the foot and ankle are highly trained to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate any type of injury or condition that affects these parts of your body. Whether it’s bunions, plantar fasciitis, or something else entirely; they can help you get back on your feet! 

Although there are many specialties available for an orthopedic surgeon to choose from, all have one common goal–to provide relief from musculoskeletal pain as quickly and effectively as possible. By understanding what these professionals do and how they can help with managing pain-related conditions you’ll be able to find the right fit for you! 

Finding Relief

The absence of pain is a wonderful thing. It’s hard to overstate how much better life can be when we’re not in any kind of discomfort or distress; it allows us to go about our day-to-day activities with ease and enjoy the moments that make up our lives. Unfortunately, for many people, this isn’t always the case as they suffer from chronic pain conditions that can be debilitating at times.