Non invasive / Conservative

Medication
Immobilization
Rehabilitation Exercises
Ultrasound Therapy


Medication

Before more invasive treatments are considered for an injury or condition, medication appropriate for the patient is considered in order to relieve symptoms and allow self-healing. Medication can range from anti-inflammatory drugs to corticosteroidal injections. Each patient is carefully matched to the treatment and carefully monitored.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
Anti-inflammatory medications are often a part of a conservative treatment program, because reducing inflammation is often key to relieving symptoms associated with an injury or possibly relieving a condition prompted by an inflamed environment. Other pharmacological nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to reduce swelling and inflammation that contribute to stiffness and make physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises more difficult. Swelling and inflammation are symptoms often associated with bone and joint, as well as nerve, tendon, and ligament conditions and injuries.

Not intended for long-term use, these medications are discontinued if symptoms persist and there is no considerable improvement over an acceptable period of time.

Therapeutic Injections
Therapeutic injections are the combination of lidocaine and corticosteroid, which are used to alleviate symptoms resulting from a number of musculoskeletal conditions - providing both pain relief and diagnostic benefit.

Therapeutic injections may be indicated for rotator cuff impingement or chronic tennis elbow conditions nonresponsive to other conservative treatment, including NSAIDs and rehabilitative therapy. They are also effective in treating a variety of conditions from which older patients, who are not recommended for surgery, suffer. These types of injections are also beneficial in temporarily relieving pain in patients with an operable lesion.

Studies have shown that the long-term use of this type of medication does diminish its effectiveness.

Immobilization

Temporary immobilization can be an effective treatment for many orthopedic conditions. Refraining from the activity or avoiding placing stress on the affected limb can improve blood flow and reduce irritation that may prompt inflammation and compression on nerves and tendons, promoting an environment conducive to healing.

This is particularly effective for simple fractures that are not displaced and compression of tendons and nerves in repetitive stress conditions.

Immobilization may entail resting the injured limb in a particular position during periods of inactivity, casting, or removable splints and braces (worn during activity in order to keep the affected limb immobile and then removed during rest). While this period of immobilization gives fractures time to heal, it also alleviates the pressure the position required for some activities may place on tendons or nerves.

As with any treatment, long periods of immobilization - such as that often associated with casting - may take a toll on muscle function in the affected limb and require rehabilitative exercises in order to regain strength and range of motion.

Rehabilitation Exercises

An essential part of an effective treatment program and successful recovery, rehabilitative exercises are designed specifically for the injury and condition in restoring full range of motion and limb strength. In many cases involving minor injuries and irritations, rehabilitative treatment alone is able to restore strength and return full function to an injured limb - eliminating the need for more invasive treatment.

Rehabilitative exercise as primary treatment is particularly effective in repetitive stress injuries and conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, Guyon's canal syndrome, and trigger finger.

Rehabilitation treatment is also a form of patient education, helping patients understand which movements may produce more stress on a joint than others - and better positions for improved joint function. Often times changing the manner in which a task is performed or a repetitive activity carried out can dramatically alter the adverse affects it previously prompted.

By strengthening and improving flexibility of surrounding and opposing muscles, tendons and ligaments, the impact from force as well as daily activities is better distributed - placing less stress on a single region.

Ultrasound Therapy

The use of ultrasonics in rehabilitation and physical therapy dates back to the 1940s. Today the refinement of ultrasound equipment and technology makes it an effective treatment for a number of soft tissue injuries and conditions - from muscle sprains and bursitis, to tennis elbow and tendonitis.

The high-frequency heat treatment created by ultrasound therapy increases blood flow to the targeted area, which stimulates and nourishes the environment - promoting healing. It reduces pain by decreasing muscle spasms and encouraging normal function. And is also capable of softening fibrous tissues and scar tissue.

Ultrasound therapy is administered with a sound head from an ultrasound machine that is moved in circular motion softly over the affected area. A gel is used to help the waves travel into the body rather than reflect off the skin. The waves are transferred in either a "pulse" mode, which prevents tissues from heating, or a "continuous" mode, which transfers the heat to the body tissues.