FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you have a question, perhaps it can be answered here...
Do I need a GP referral to see Dr Low?
No. Dr Low has a GP provider number so patients will receive a Medicare rebate.
Whats the difference between an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor and a physiotherapist?
An Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor is medical doctor and who has completed further education and training in Sports Medicine. Some injuries are able to be managed well by an experienced physiotherapist, however, there are other occasions in complex or chronic injuries where an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor is an important part of your treatment team.
A physiotherapist has completed training in physiotherapy. They are trained to assess, diagnose and treat a range of musculoskeletal & neurological injuries. In fact, a good physiotherapist will refer you to an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor when they recognise medical expertise is required to help you get back to your regular activities.
Both disciplines work closely together in patient management on a regular basis. Just like in sport, this is a team game – without having a good doctor and physio, your prospects of achieving full recovery and return to play will be impacted. Dr Low has excellent relationships with the physiotherapy community in Orange.
There are many medical issues that can either masquerade as sports injuries, or exist in conjunction with a sports injury, so seeing an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor with medical training is important to get the right diagnosis and management plan. An Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor can also co-ordinate your care in terms of referral to other medical specialists (e.g. orthopaedic surgeon, rheumatologist, or neurologist as required).
For some injuries and issues it doesn’t matter who you see, as long as they are experienced in treating sports & exercise injuries. However, if you have an injury that is simply not getting better, or you have had a block of treatment from your physiotherapist or exercise physiologist and are not happy with your progress, then seeing a Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor is a good option to consider. Also if you have a significant injury (Eg. knee injury with lots of swelling) that requires imaging such as x-ray or MRI then seeing an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor is the appropriate next step.
Whats the difference between an Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor and an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
They both a have a primary medical degree. An Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor has obtained further training in non-surgical management of Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine conditions, whilst an Orthopaedic Surgeon has obtained further training in primarily the surgical management of Orthopaedic conditions. Most Orthopaedic conditions are treated non-surgically first, and if this does not work then surgery may be an option.
The role of surgery to treat Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine conditions
Surgery plays an important role for the treatment of Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine conditions. However for the majority of Orthopaedic conditions surgery is not 1st line treatment and patients often get better with non-surgical management. Surgery can often be life changing (eg. A knee replacement in a patient with severe osteoarthritis) which is fantastic but some patients may not benefit as much as they thought they would from surgery. With this in mind its important that you are well informed and have tried everything else before having an operation that cannot be reversed.
The role of imaging in Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Conditions
Imaging can be helpful in the diagnosis of Orthopaedic and Sports conditions. However often when imaging is performed changes to structures are found that aren’t actually causing the patient any symptoms. This can be confusing to both the health professional and the patient and often the patient is misdiagnosed and receives the wrong treatment. An Orthopaedic and Sports Doctor’s role is to determine whether the image findings correlate with the patients symptoms and findings on physical examination.
Sometimes with imaging the same two patients may have the same amount of osteoarthritis on their x-ray, yet one patient has no pain and the other has significant pain. Researchers, scientists and doctors are yet to work out all the reasons for this phenomena, however there are well known contributors such as the patients level of stress, anxiety and perception of pain.
There have even been studies showing that patients with no pain, suddenly develop pain in a region of their body after having an x-ray and being told they have damage. Therefore the use of imaging should be considered carefully.
What does multidisciplinary in reference to Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine mean?
Multidisciplinary means more than one health professional may be involved in the management of the patients’ condition. Dr Low works closely with several local physios, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, podiatrists, pyschologists, dieticians, Orthopaedic surgeons and sports trainers. Often management involves the patient being referred to one or more of these health professionals.