This is an exciting time in orthopaedic care. The years 2010 thru 2020 have been designated by a global alliance of health professionals as The Bone and Joint Decade, a period of time to emphasize the importance of bone and joint health. This program aims to help with the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions – that is, pain and mobility problems occurring with bones, joints and muscles. This quest is at the center of attention for doctors, therapists, politicians, insurance companies and scientists around the world.
Why? It’s simple. Musculoskeletal problems affect a person’s quality of life and are increasing. According to data by the Global Burden of Disease Study, MSK conditions such as arthritis and back pain are shown to affect over 1.7 billion people worldwide, and have the fourth greatest impact on the overall health of the world population. This burden has increased by 45 percent over the last 20 years and will continue to do so unless action is taken.
When bones and/or joints are “just not right,” there is no better way to make a positive influence on a person’s quality of life than to MOVE. Appropriately enough, the tagline for the program is Keep People Moving. Whether it’s back or neck pain, arthritis, thinning of the bones from osteoporosis, bone injuries, shoulder discomfort, sports or work injuries, etc., the reality is that when moving gets to be difficult, there becomes susceptibility to many other health problems. It has been said that “sitting is the new smoking.” Wow! Healthcare professionals are now realizing many of the health problems they see today are a result of patients not moving because it is too painful, they are too tired or too week.
Fortunately, the care received from an orthopaedic doctor, physical therapist or physiatrist is not just about making back pain better, getting a new knee or having that rotator cuff fixed. It’s about getting moving again so one’s overall health, vitality and quality of life become the best they can be.
Orthopedic specialists not only help improve MSK health, they help prevent further problems. Diet, exercise and even medications can greatly influence bone and joint health and, therefore, overall health. Good orthopaedic care is about prevention, accurate diagnoses and state-of-the-art treatments. Orthopaedic care pays for itself many times over in the long run – or better yet, in the Bone and Joint Decade and beyond.
By Carl DeRosa, P.T., Ph.D.
Carl DeRosa, P.T., Ph.D., is the owner of DeRosa Physical Therapy and a professor of Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University. DeRosa Physical Therapy is located inside the Summit Center, also home to Northern Arizona Orthopaedics and Summit Surgery and Recovery Care Center.