Orthopedics is the branch of medicine concerned with prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. These disorders include injury to or disease of the body’s bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Orthopedists are surgeons who specialize in orthopedics. They employ medical, physical, and surgical methods to restore function that is lost as a result of injury or disease to the musculoskeletal system.
Orthopedists coordinate their treatments with other health care providers, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and sports medicine physicians. In addition to the orthopedist who treats bone and joint diseases, the rheumatologist (also a medical doctor) specializes in treatment of arthritis and other diseases of joints, muscles, and bones.
The osteopathic physician (DO) may also provide medical treatment for musculoskeletal disorders. The osteopathic philosophy maintains that good health requires a holistic approach that includes proper alignment of bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. Like a medical doctor (MD), osteopathic physicians provide state of -the -art methods of medical treatment, including prescribing drugs and performing surgeries, and may specialize in such areas as orthopedics, cardiology, and pulmonology.
Another health care provider who treats musculoskeletal disorders is the chiropractor. Unlike medical doctors and osteopaths, chiropractors are not physicians. They do not employ drugs or surgery, the primary basis of treatment used by medical physicians. Chiropractic medicine is a system of therapy based on the theory that disease is caused by pressure on nerves. Nevertheless, chiropractors employ the use of radiographic images to diagnose pathological disorders and determine the most effective type of treatment. In most instances, chiropractic treatment involves physical manipulation of the spinal column.
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