Orthopedic Surgery, Pain Management

February 5, 2016

What to Expect During an Orthopedic Evaluation


An orthopedic evaluation is an exam that gives your surgeon the information they need to recommend the best pain-relieving procedures for you.

Orthopedic surgeons perform thorough orthopedic evaluations when determining the most appropriate form of treatment for your musculoskeletal condition or injury. These evaluations provide your surgeon with the information they need to create a comprehensive treatment plan. Preparing for your orthopedic evaluation ahead of time can save you from the time and expense of extra follow-up visits.

Medical History Exam
Be as specific as possible when describing your pain. Use details such as where you feel pain, what type of pain you have, how often it hurts, how severe your pain is, and whether or not pain is preventing you from enjoying daily activities. You should also describe any past injuries that could be contributing to your pain. Let your surgeon know about any other chronic pain you deal with, even if it seems unrelated.

Your orthopedic evaluation will cover your complete medical history, including any underlying medical conditions such as arthritis or diabetes. Keeping this information up-to-date and accurate helps lower your risk of complications from conflicting conditions or medications. Be sure to notify your orthopedic surgeon of all the medications you take and any allergies you may have to medications or substances like latex.

Physical Tests
To fully evaluate your condition, your orthopedic surgeon will most likely conduct a few physical tests. These tests are meant to check your flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes. Your surgeon will also check the affected area for swelling and visible symptoms of a condition. Visible lumps, asymmetrical swelling, bulges in your spine, and mottled or bruised skin can all be indications of an orthopedic condition.

Your orthopedic surgeon may have you bend, walk, move up and down stairs, and sit down to test your range of motion. Watching your body’s ability to perform movements helps your doctor evaluate your flexibility, as well as narrow down the list of potential conditions, for a more accurate diagnosis.

Imaging Tests
If your orthopedic surgeon needs more in-depth information on the affected area, they might order imaging tests, such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These tests provide your surgeon with detailed images and information on your condition and help them spot any signs of swelling, infection, or displacement.

Keep in mind that your surgeon might need to test more than the area that is causing you pain. For example, shoulder pain can be caused by musculoskeletal problems in your upper spine or neck, while hip pain is sometimes caused by problems with your lower part of the spine.

After your orthopedic evaluation is complete, your surgeon will discuss your treatment options with you based on your medical history exam and the results of physical and imaging tests. If your pain is keeping you from performing the daily activities that make life worth living, schedule an orthopedic evaluation to ensure that any undiagnosed conditions don’t worsen.

To set up an orthopedic evaluation, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at(877)-918-7020. Our orthopedic surgeons can help you determine the best course of treatment to relieve your pain and restore your range of motion.

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