What is Musculoskeletal Pain?

Man with knee pain

Let’s face it, “musculoskeletal” is tough to pronounce, let alone explain or fully understand.

Musculoskeletal disorders are actually one of the most common medical conditions, affecting approximately one-third of all adults in the United States. And that number is growing exponentially, thanks to an aging and still active population.

Musculoskeletal disorders are actually one of the most common medical conditions, affecting approximately one-third of all adults in the United States. And that number is growing exponentially, thanks to an aging and still active population.

People tend to explain it as their entire body aching or that their muscles feel as though they have been pulled or overworked with the most common symptoms being pain, fatigue or a disruption in normal sleep patterns.

Musculoskeletal pain can affect anyone and impact all major areas of the body, including the:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Knees
  • Feet

How is musculoskeletal pain diagnosed and treated?

Musculoskeletal pain and disorders can be treated by a number of different medical specialists. Diagnosing musculoskeletal pain requires a physician to take numerous things into account. They will begin by thoroughly reviewing your medical history, looking for possible causes of your pain (strenuous work conditions, sports, repetitive motions, etc.). Your physician will then conduct a hands-on examination looking for the source of pain. Finally, they will likely conduct various diagnostic procedures that may include X-rays, blood tests, CT scans and MRIs, to know the physical extent of that pain.

Once the cause of your pain and discomfort has been determined, your physician will go through the treatment options available to you. For acute pain, physical therapy, exercise programs, analgesics (such as acetaminophen), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and injections are all possibilities. For those suffering from more severe pain, surgery may be the appropriate treatment option. Surgeries could include: arthroplasty (or replacement), arthroscopy, soft tissue and cartilage repair.

The Region’s First Musculoskeletal Center

The Penn Musculoskeletal Center, the first of its kind in Philadelphia, is revolutionizing the way musculoskeletal care is delivered. The Center provides the latest diagnostic techniques and the most advanced surgical and non-surgical options for a range of musculoskeletal disorders, injuries and pain found in muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones.

By bringing together multiple specialists as a seamless unit, the team works together to consider a wide range of treatments, not just surgery. This team-based model of care creates a seamless, integrated patient experience and the most efficient process of diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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