Musculoskeletal medicine looks at issues with bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons and how these issues stop you from playing sports or living life to the fullest. This type of medicine uses a number of different techniques to help you get back to your best. These include physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy, steroid injections of joints, ligaments and muscles, exercises and needling.
Common disorders include tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia and bone fractures.
Many musculoskeletal specialists are GP’s who have completed further education in musculoskeletal medicine via post graduate university degrees and hands on training with other musculoskeletal specialists.
Issues that should be referred include shoulder, arm and hand pain, lower back pain and sciatica, tennis and golfer’s elbow, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain, joint pain and stiffness, frozen shoulder, osteoarthritis, headache, repetitive strain injuries, sports related injuries and muscle, tendon and ligament pain.
When you are seen by a musculoskeletal specialist, they will take a history of the problem and other issues you may have had, your past medical and surgical history, medications and allergies. They will examine the affected and unaffected areas, and depending on the body part, you may need to expose the area by undressing. They then may arrange further investigations such as x-rays, ultrasounds, Ct scans and MRI’s. These are not always needed. Sometimes blood tests are also ordered to exclude other conditions such as autoimmune diseases. When they have gathered enough information to understand your condition they should explain it to you and offer a management plan.