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Health & Wellness

When Should You Visit an Orthopaedic Specialist?

By Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital
June 7, 2019

If you are experiencing persistent pain in any of your joints, limbs, neck or back — you may have an injury or illness that requires visiting an orthopaedic specialist for treatment. When this is the case, it’s important to remember that you do not need a physician’s referral to make an appointment. You can simply call the orthopaedic treatment center to schedule a consultation with a specialist. 

Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to decide whether to seek help in the first place or just wait to see if the problem will go away on its own. 

The following is a list of signs and symptoms that may indicate that it’s time to visit an orthopaedic specialist:

  • Persistent pain that lasts for more than 12 consecutive weeks.
  • Pain, discomfort or stiffness that makes it hard to do everyday activities.
  • Decreased range of motion (can’t move your arms or legs without pain; can’t bend over without pain in your back, etc.).
  • Unsteadiness or coordination loss when standing (stumble when walking or unstable even when standing still).

Should You Visit Your Family Doctor or an Orthopaedic Specialist?

If you’re experiencing persistent pain, your first thought may be to visit your family doctor. However, there are certain injuries and illnesses that an orthopaedic specialist can treat more effectively – which means you may recover more quickly. 

To be specific, you should see an orthopaedic specialist if you suspect that you have an injury to a joint, bone, tendon or nerve. The same is true if you suspect you have arthritis or another rheumatic disease such as bursitis, osteoporosis or gout.

Could My Injury Heal on Its Own?

It’s only natural to hope that whatever is causing you persistent pain is just something minor that will clear up without medical attention. The following are some common signs and symptoms that indicate your injury will not heal without medical treatment:

  • Continuous pain for more than three months (whether it happens every day or comes and goes).
  • Swelling around the joint or affected area.
  • Acute pain that is so bad, it sometimes prevents you from moving your limbs normally.
  • Unresponsive to pain medication (you’ve tried over-the-counter pain relievers and/or topical agents, but the pain still persists).

If the Pain Won’t Stop, Get Help

There’s no need for you to suffer from persistent pain in your joints or limbs. Your best choice is to visit an orthopaedic specialist to find out exactly what the problem is – and get the treatment you need to feel better and improve your quality of life.

DISCLAIMER: Always consult your physician before acting on any medical advice or tips you may receive – including those involving medical procedures, exercises, lifestyle changes, supplements, vitamins, etc. Lafayette General Orthopaedic Hospital is not responsible for any adverse effects experienced by persons who act upon advice without prior approval from a qualified physician.


Note: If you have experienced a serious injury, you should seek immediate treatment at your local emergency room.

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