The branch of medicine dealing with the musculoskeletal system concerns bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, tendons, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and skin. The same few basic treatments will keep appearing for all musculoskeletal conditions since these treatments are the most effective and appropriately matched to these problems.
Typically, the only prescription medications patients receive from the practice are antibiotics to fight infection. All medications have potential allergies, side effects, drug to drug interactions, and negative interactions with underlying medical conditions. So patients should always check with your primary care doctor to be sure that there is no interference with any other medication you may be taking or any other medical condition you may have. The pharmacist should also always check for these types of interactions before allowing you to have the medicine.
The most basic function provided to a patient by the therapists is education and advice on how to use the body for daily activities or correct ergonomic behaviors. Many medical conditions can be brought on by bad habits or bad posture. Other therapist functions are to help stretch tight areas, work to increase motion in joints, build strength and dexterity, and train body parts to work correctly again after damage or surgical reconstruction. Special treatments exist for nerve sensitivity conditions. Specific protocols match the various surgical procedures performed by Dr. Henry. Therapists are also experts at manufacturing custom splints to protect the hand and wrist against deformity or stiffness.
Splints and Casts
After fractures or ligament injuries patients may be placed in splints or casts to prevent further damage while healing occurs. Following surgery, splints prevent damage to the delicate surgical work performed until it is time to have stress placed on the area. Too much immobilization can lead to stiffness, and it is important to follow all instructions regarding how to use the splint or cast and how often it should be worn.
Cortisone solutions can be very effective in reducing swelling and inflammation when injected into joints and around tendons. There will be pain from the injection for a few days. The effect of the cortisone will kick in after around a week if it is going to be effective. The benefits of the injection often last well beyond the time that the medicine actually stays in the body. Injections tend to be fairly effective for mild conditions but less effective as a long-term solution for more advanced conditions.
If a good non-surgical solution can be used to address the problem, that option will be considered first instead of surgery. Some conditions such as certain fractures, lacerated tendons, or other advanced conditions do not have any good non-surgical solution, and the best answer to the problem is actually surgery. In other cases, the non-surgical solutions will have already been used as much as possible but the condition still remains, making surgery a reasonable choice at that point in time. Surgery is done over at one of the hospitals at a time that has to be scheduled and approved in advance. Most of Dr. Henry’s surgeries are outpatient, checking in and out on the same day. A few are extensive enough to benefit the patient by staying overnight until the next morning. Only complicated limb reconstructions need to stay in the hospital longer. Patients with medical problems should be evaluated by their primary care physicians ahead of time to be sure that all internal medical issues have been addressed before having anesthesia and to listen to a risk assessment before deciding whether or not to choose surgery as an option. Surgery usually requires post-operative therapy for the best recovery. A written set of surgery instructions are given for both before and after surgery to help patients follow the many rules that lead to the best outcomes. Surgery itself is performed in a completely sterile environment. One of the most devastating adverse events that can occur following surgery is for the patient to allow bacteria into the dressing or wound region before the wound is fully healed. Patients must be extremely diligent in controlling the post-operative environment, no prolonged outdoor exposure, direct contact with animals, or handling any dirty items.