When most people think of sports medicine, they envision a physician treating their favorite player who was carted off the field after receiving a game-ended injury. However, a fairly common misconception is that you have to be an elite athlete to see a sports medicine doctor.
The truth is that most patients who visit a primary care sports medicine physician do not play sports competitively. They are patients who suffer from various injuries and conditions they’ve sustained from any kind of activity or movement. They could have fallen at work and developed a chronic condition of the knee or experienced an acute injury to the elbow as a result of doing daily household activities or exercise.
Regardless of what brings you in for an appointment, a primary care sports medicine physician aims to maximize healing and minimize recovery time, allowing for a rapid return to sport, work and daily activities. This is typically done by using minimally invasive treatments of the musculoskeletal system.
These less invasive procedures result in shorter recovery periods and less pain than surgical intervention. These types of treatment options may include:
- Stem Cell Injections: Through regenerative biologic treatments (orthobiologics), including stem cell therapy, damaged tissues throughout the musculoskeletal system are being repaired and strengthened. This treatment is being used to treat various musculoskeletal problems and orthopaedic injuries.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy: Injections using a patient’s blood are put through a centrifugation (spinning) process to make the platelet-rich plasma (PRP). This procedure works by increasing the concentration of growth factors in the injured areas, which assists the body in recognizing the tissue as damaged and focusing its healing powers on that area.
- Percutaneous Tenotomy: TENEX of the elbow, ankle, knee, hip and shoulder replaces more traditional treatments for chronic tendon-like cortisone shots, having tendon repair surgery or undergoing time-consuming physical therapy sessions. Using the TENEX method, degenerative scar tissue responsible for causing a patient’s pain is located and removed.
- COOLIEF Radiofrequency Ablation: An FDA-approved outpatient procedure designed to target only the sensory nerves directly responsible for causing a patient’s shoulder, knee or hip pain. Studies indicate that COOLIEF provides patients suffering from chronic shoulder, knee or hip pain an average of 12 months of relief.
- Musculoskeletal Ultrasound: Due to its ability to provide fast, inexpensive and accurate results, the musculoskeletal ultrasound is used as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool that allows physicians to accurately determine the location, severity and progression of an injury.
Through innovative diagnostic and minimally invasive procedures as well as recommendations for physical therapy, pain management, nutritional and/or performance enhancements, patients often have a variety as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. From those who have physically demanding jobs like first responders to those participating in recreational activities on the weekends to elderly patients who are not candidates for surgical intervention – sports medicine is for a broad spectrum of patients, not just athletes.
Whether your goal is a return to work or the daily activities you enjoy, or simply to improve your quality of life, a primary care sports medicine physician can help you move towards your goal by determining what is causing your pain and developing a treatment plan to correct it. If you are experiencing pain due to a recent injury, unexplained pain that has been persistent or has steadily worsened, please reach out to us for a consultation. Dr. Josh Hackel is available to treat athletes and non-athletes alike. Request an appointment online or call 850-916-8783 today.