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Not all orthopedic injuries require surgery. This guide discusses when to see a physiatrist, how to avoid addictive pain medication and how to relieve pain without surgery.
Living life in pain isn't normal. Yet, for many people, pain is their constant reality. However, you don't have to let pain stop you from living life. With a specialized treatment plan, there is hope of getting your normal back.
Whether you don't think there is a solution for your pain, you are afraid of or not a candidate for surgery, or you don't want to rely on addictive pain medication, our Ultimate Guide to Non-surgical Orthopedic Care discusses a different solution for your needs.
Let us help you get back to doing the things you love.
Physiatry, also known as physical medicine and rehabilitation or non-operative pain management, focuses on restoring a patient's quality of life and physical abilities through the use of medication, therapy and minimally invasive procedures.
Physiatrists are medical doctors who have completed training in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation. Physiatrists focus on how pain and physical limitations affect function and your daily quality of life. Through a thorough examination and appropriate diagnostic testing, they determine the best course of treatment for your condition.
Physiatrists can have subspecialty certifications in the following areas:
At OrthoIndy, our physiatrists also referred to as physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists or non-operative pain management doctors, focus on treating a multitude of medical, neurologic and orthopedic conditions in a non-operative approach.
OrthoIndy physiatrists' interests include:
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Similar to an orthopedic surgeon, physiatrists must graduate from medical school followed by four additional years of residency training in a physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Many physiatrists choose to pursue additional advanced degrees known as fellowship training in a specific subspecialty area. Fellowships are available for specialized study in musculoskeletal rehabilitation, pediatrics, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and sports medicine?
To become board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rehabilitation physicians are required to take both a written and oral examination administered by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR).
SHOULD I SEE A SPINE SURGEON OR PHYSIATRIST FOR MY BACK PAIN?
Everyone experiences pain at one time in their life or another. However, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain can linger for weeks, months or even years.
Learn how to manage chronic pain and begin to enjoy your life again.
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If you are experiencing pain for an extended period of time, or you are under the care of a primary care physician and still experiencing pain, it might be time to seek help from a physiatrist.
Compared to a surgeon or pain medicine specialist, a physiatrist will give you different options to help you avoid surgery and addictive pain medication.
Read about when you should visit a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor (blog article)
Similar to any physician, a physiatrist will start by assessing your condition during your initial visit. During your first appointment or at a follow-up appointment he or she will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Depending on your diagnosis, you may continue to meet with your physiatrist for a period of time.
Your treatment plan may include one or a variety of the following treatments:
READ ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A VISIT WITH A PHYSIATRIST (Blog Article)
A physiatrist focuses on treating orthopedic conditions in a non-operative approach through the use of medication, therapy and minimally invasive procedures, such as injections.
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Tips to manage chronic pain and enjoy life again
The United States uses more opioids than any other country in the world. The opioid epidemic started with physicians simply wanting to do the best thing for their patients, relieve their pain.
However, pain is complex and not all pain needs to be addressed by using opioids or other addictive pain medication.
OrthoIndy physiatrists aim to treat conditions in a non-operative manner through the use of non-opioid medication, therapy and minimally invasive procedures.
Although physiatrists do not perform traditional surgery, it is important to note that they do not heavily rely on addictive opioid pain medication to treat patients. In fact, it’s the opposite.
Managing pain without opioid use is exactly the service that OrthoIndy physiatry provides. The physiatry team focuses on a treatment plan that allows the patient to return to their pre-injury activity levels without relying on opioid pain medication.
Physical dependence on opioids can occur when a patient has received opioids for a long period of time. To avoid depending on opioids or becoming addicted to opioids it is best to follow a physician’s orders and ask questions if you feel uneasy about an opioid prescription.
WATCH VIDEO: Alternative ways to heal without the use of pain medication
With the opioid crisis in the United States, it’s important to be educated on what opioids are, how you can avoid opioid addiction, how to safely quit opioid use and what to expect after quitting addictive pain medication.
GET THE GUIDE (PDF)
Never quit opioids cold turkey on your own. Not only could it put you at a risk for failure, but there are also various serious health consequences.
Signs that it’s time to stop opioid medication use
Steps to safely quitting opioid pain medication
READ ABOUT OPIOID PAIN MEDICATION AND WHY IT ISN'T THE ANSWER (BLOG ARTICLE)
Ask your doctor if you don't know whether your painkiller is an opioid.
Sometimes a patient will work solely with their physiatrist or other times they may seek the care of a variety of providers. A physiatrist is trained to lead care and coordinate with a team of specialists.
OrthoIndy Physical Therapy: Physiatrists work with physical therapists to develop specialized treatment plans for their patients to strengthen their muscles and increase range of motion. Treatment plans may include exercise, stretches or dry needling.
Orthopedic Surgeons: For a variety of reasons, non-surgical treatment may fail to provide patients with satisfactory results. A surgical referral may then be the appropriate next step.
OrthoIndy Urgent Care: Physiatrists help treat patients as they come into the urgent care for various pain. They help diagnose patients and determine the best course of treatment.
OrthoIndy Research: Physiatrists are constantly looking for ways to improve their practice and results for their patients. New research studies allow physiatrists to trial new products that may alleviate pain for their patients.
READ WHAT MAKES THE PRACTICE OF PHYSIATRY A TEAM APPROACH (BLOG ARTICLE)
The OrthoIndy Physical Therapy team helps patients rehab faster to return to their normal activities. Physical therapists work with OrthoIndy physiatrists and surgeons to come up with a specialized treatment plan to treat orthopedic related pain, conditions or injuries.
Should I see a spine surgeon or physiatrist for my back or neck pain?
The ultimate guide to non-surgical orthopedic care
How you can avoid or quit addictive pain medication and return to an active lifestyle
How to cope with severe chronic pain
When should I visit a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor?
Understanding opioid pain medication and why it isn’t the answer
What to expect during a visit with a physiatrist
What makes the practice of physiatry a team approach?
Alternative ways to heal without the use of addictive pain medication
Common concerns and treatment options with a physiatrist
Patient story: Giving up pain pills allows patient to find back pain relief
With years of experience and the most advanced technology, OrthoIndy physiatrists will give you the best chance possible to achieve your goals. Make an appointment and let OrthoIndy’s team of experts help you get normal back, whatever your normal looks like.
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David received non-surgical orthopedic treatment for a pinched nerve in his cervical spine from an OrthoIndy physiatrist. He is now pain-free and can continue showing sheep.
After years of back pain and an increasing amount of addictive pain medication, patient turns to OrthoIndy physiatry to relieve back pain and quit addictive pain medication.
When Lucinda experienced a pull in her neck followed by neck and arm pain, she knew she needed to find immediate relief but she wasn't ready for surgery.