by Jared Trouve, PA-C
You've finally made the appointment with the orthopedic group. You've been meaning to do this for months, but just haven't gotten around to it. Family obligations, work obligations, and everything else, takes priority over the pain in your right shoulder. It's always there but you get by. You made your appointment, so now all that's left is to see the doctor and get a prescription that will make everything better. At your appointment you see the doctor or PA and he/she does an exam; you are lucky that you don't need surgery. He sends you off with a prescription for physical therapy. You are asked to attend once or twice a week for the next six weeks. It took you months to get to this point and now you're supposed to go to physical therapy for six weeks to make this better? That's a lot of time and effort!
This scenario is something that we see a lot of in our orthopedic practice. The answer to many problems that we see in the office isn't surgical, and can't be fixed with a simple prescription. Even in cases where surgery is warranted, recovery often requires a great deal of commitment from the patient. This commitment is typically in the form of completing home exercises and physical therapy, while adhering to a schedule of medications intended to facilitate the healing process. The course of treatment for your orthopedic injury is likely much different than the treatments you are used to - in many other areas of medicine you are prescribed medication that helps your issue on its own.
Many patients don't expect to be told to do the extra work, which often means that they don't do everything that is recommended to them in order to heal properly. This may be for a variety of reasons, whether it is because of pain or simply the lack of time. Unfortunately, the result is that the recovery progress is slow or nonexistent, which may possibly mean that an additional surgery is warranted. To increase the chances of proper healing and to decrease the chances of additional surgery, it is extremely important to take an active role in your orthopedic care. As providers, we do our best to diagnose your problem, explain your problem to you, and recommend the best treatment plan so that you may heal and feel better. However, you, as the patient, are the one who has to follow through with the treatment plan. Motivation to recover is essential to the healing process whether you have tendinitis of your shoulder, or just had a total knee replacement. Following through with the recommended treatment plan is the best way to get the results that you want. Often times, the healing process may be painful and time consuming but, as a provider, we don't recommend treatment plans to hurt you or inconvenience you. We recommend them because we have your best interests in mind and we genuinely want you to get better.
Should you have any questions related to your treatment plan, it is essential that you speak to your provider. Together we can come up with the best treatment options for you, and we can explain why we recommend a certain course of action.