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FAQs

Orthopedic Appointment (New Patient)

Can I see an orthopedic doctor online?

Yep!

On Sesame, orthopedists and podiatrists offer telehealth appointments for patients looking for efficient, flexible care. With telehealth, you can speak with a doctor about your symptoms and work to develop a treatment plan that's right for you - without the hassle of having to drive to different doctors' offices. If you've already seen a doctor and need a second opinion or more clarity on your condition, you can schedule a quick and easy telehealth appointment to get your questions answered on your own time.

On Sesame, you can connect with a licensed orthopedic specialist for an affordable cash price - without any hidden fees, copays, or insurance.

Should I see an orthopedist or a podiatrist?

While podiatrists are similar to orthopedists, they specialize in musculoskeletal care of the lower leg - particularly the feet.

They diagnose and treat issues related to the bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments, with a focus from the hips to the toes. It is recommended that you see a podiatrist for ailments such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, bone spurs, fallen arches, and ingrown toenails.

Connect with a real, quality podiatrist licensed to treat patients in for an affordable, upfront price on Sesame. We work directly with podiatrists and orthopedists - not insurance companies - to get you the care you need without breaking the bank. Save 60% on your next podiatry or orthopedic consult when you book with Sesame.

What is an orthopedist?

An orthopedist is a health care professional (sometimes called an orthopedic specialist) that focuses on the diagnosis, correction, rehabilitation, and prevention of musculoskeletal issues such as knee pain or scoliosis.

Can I go straight to an orthopedist?

Yep! Telehealth platforms like Sesame make it easier than ever to see an orthopedist in - without a referral. Appointments are available today!

Sesame works directly with orthopedists - not insurance companies - to get you the care you need for affordable, upfront prices. Connect on Sesame today with an orthopedist in who can assess your condition, treat your symptoms, and craft a treatment plan that's right for you.

What does an orthopedic doctor check for?

An orthopedic doctor can treat a variety of conditions related to the muscular and skeletal systems.

These include:
- Muscle sprains, tears, and tendonitis
- Broken bones
- Joint pain and back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Arthritis
- Bone cancer
- Clubfoot and bowlegs


An orthopedic doctor can diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatments for these ailments. Orthopedic doctors may recommend lifestyle changes, stretches, exercises, immobilization, and pain management.

Sub-specialties of orthopedics include:
- Pediatric orthopedics
- Sports medicine
- Hand surgery
- Orthopedic trauma
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy

What happens at an orthopedic appointment?

Your first visit to the orthopedic doctor may start with a comprehensive medical evaluation, which may include x-rays and other physical tests. You may want to write down anything related to your issue that you'd like to discuss with your doctor. This could be a list of sports injuries or of current pains and symptoms. Come prepared to ask questions and get to the bottom of your symptoms.

What is an orthopedic surgeon?

Like an orthopedic doctor, orthopedic surgeons are well versed in conditions of the musculoskeletal system, such as bone fractures, joint problems, and sports injuries. Another similarity between the two is that they each undergo around 14 years of training including a bachelor's degree, medical school, a residency, and pass a certifying exam.

However, unlike orthopedic doctors, orthopedic surgeons are qualified to conduct orthopedic surgery.

Orthopedic surgeons can often treat musculoskeletal problems with treatment such as:
- Bone grafts
- Soft tissue repair
- Arthroscopic surgery
- Osteotomy
- Internal fixation
- Partial and total joint replacement


Save 60% on your next orthopedic consultation when you book with Sesame.

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be caused by any number of problems. According to the ACA, back pain is the third most common reason for doctor’s office visits although not usually caused by serious conditions such as arthritis, infection, or cancer. Some common causes of back pain are:

Muscle or ligament strain: Heavy lifting, sudden movement, or awkward sleeping positions have been known to cause strain on muscles and ligaments in the back. Pulled muscles, tendons, and ligaments can lead to tightness in the back and painful spasms.

Bulging discs: The back has 24 spinal discs, which are spongy cushions that separate the individual vertebrae in the spinal cord and up through the neck. These discs act as shock absorption and allow for pivot points (movement) in the back. When inflammation occurs around the tough membrane surrounding the vertebral disc without rupturing it, the disc is referred to as bulging. Bulging discs can lead to numbness, pain, and difficulty walking (among other symptoms).

Herniated discs: Herniated discs, or slipped discs, are often confused for bulging discs. A herniated disc, though, has ruptured the tough membrane surrounding the spongy tissue, causing the soft material to push through the rupture and irritate nerves around the area. Herniated discs can cause arm or leg pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Herniated discs can cause inflammation leading to pinched nerves which can affect limbs and mobility.

Arthritis (or osteoarthritis): According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is not a single disease, but a way to refer to joint pain or joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis; characterized by swelling and tenderness in the joints, usually caused by the deterioration of cartilage between bones in joints. This causes bones to rub up against each other during movement, which leads to swelling, stiffness, and pain. Arthritis usually worsens with age, as cartilage continues to break down. Obesity and medical history can also contribute to risk factors associated with arthritis.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose mass, thereby becoming weak and brittle. When the body loses too much bone mass without making enough replacement bone, bones can be fractured more easily. In severe cases, osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures from small occurrences like sneezing or bending over. When left untreated, osteoporosis leads to back pain, loss of height, and easy bone breakage.

Stress: Poor posture, excess weight, or inadequate exercise can lead to pressure in the muscles on the back. If the body is constantly hunched over, or muscles are left tight without stretching, the muscles in the back have to work extra hard to maintain mechanical mobility. This can lead to aching and soreness in the back.

Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes fatigue, pain in muscles and bones, tenderness, and cognitive disturbances (like lack of sleep). Fibromyalgia causes regions of pain that produce a constant dull aching. Because the nerves of the body are constantly being stimulated due to pain, the brain develops an abnormal nervous system response to pain, causing the pain receptors in the brain to overreact to pain and non-painful stimuli. Illness, trauma, stress, and genetic inheritance (family history of the disease) can cause fibromyalgia.

Back pain is one of the most persistent and widespread conditions affecting Americans today, Sesame offers a range of care options such as chronic care visits, chiropractic visits, and physical therapy visits.

What can I do to relieve my lower back pain?

According to the low back pain fact sheet released by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), acute low back pain is the result of trauma or injury and usually goes away within a few days or a few weeks. Most low back pain is caused by injuries such as sprains, or disc herniation. There can be congenital causes of low back pain, such as scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), as well as degenerative causes such as arthritis, spondylosis (the wearing down of the spine due to age), and spinal stenosis (the narrowing of the spine).

Most forms of acute low back pain are treated with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), coupled with hot/ cold presses, and gentle stretching. These treatments are meant to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and gain mobility in the back and core muscles. Most primary care physicians and chiropractors can offer medical advice to help treat low back pain with at-home remedies and over-the-counter medication.

How can I prevent back pain?

The American Chiropractic Association states that at least one-half of working Americans experience back pain symptoms every year. Back pain isn't just a health issue - it's an economic one. Back pain is the leading cause of disability in America, and is responsible for nearly $100 billion in health care costs, lost pay, and decreased productivity. There are several tips and strategies to help prevent or manage low back pain including:

Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can cause strain on back muscles, which can lead to tightness and strain. A healthy diet and exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and put less stress on the musculoskeletal structures in your back.

Exercise: A low-impact exercise program that doesn’t strain the back can help improve mobility and build strength. Physical activities that use the back muscles and abdominal muscles help to condition those areas and build core strength, preventing back injury. The Mayo Clinic recommends frequent walking and swimming as low-impact activities that can help build strength and endurance in the core and back. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, can help with weight loss, and general wellness.

Quit smoking: Smoking leads to loss of blood flow, which keeps much-needed oxygen and nutrients from reaching spinal tissues. Smoking increases your risk of lower back pain and may cause an increase in the amount you smoke during the day. Quitting smoking can help prevent lower back pain, among a wide range of other health benefits.

Maintain proper posture: Slouching and improper posture can put a strain on back muscles. If you are able, sit in chairs that feature lumbar support and change your position frequently. Try to stand and walk around every half-hour or so to prevent from back muscles tightening.

Lift properly: Lift heavy objects with your legs, keep your back straight, and refrain from twisting while lifting. Hold the object you are lifting close to your body, and get help if the object seems too heavy. Lifting with improper technique, or lifting objects that are too heavy, can cause herniated discs and lower back pain.

As with any medical condition, the cause of your back pain may be different. That's why it's best to connect directly with a qualified doctor to assess your symptoms and craft a treatment plan that's right for you, your back, and your health.

What is the best treatment for back pain?

If you're dealing with persistent low back pain, there are several treatment options to help with pain relief and muscle tension. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold packs, and heating pads - along with old-fashioned bed rest - are among the most commonly prescribed treatments for lower back pain. Chronic low back pain can be complicated, though, and additional back pain treatment may be needed. Some of the best treatments for back pain include:

Hot/ Cold Therapies: Bed rest and a steady dose of heating pads and ice packs can help stimulate blood flow to the ligaments and muscles in the back. This can help reduce inflammation of the soft tissues in the back and speed up recovery time, especially when complemented with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with back pain relief. Drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen (Aleve) will reduce inflammation and reduce pain symptoms.

Muscle relaxants: Muscle relaxants are used to treat acute, rather than chronic, low back pain. These drugs are usually used if NSAIDs are unable to help with pain management. Muscle relaxers will release muscle tension in the back, which can help reduce muscle spasms and back pain.

Physical therapy/ chiropractic care: A physical therapist can offer medical advice, acupuncture therapy, and stretching exercises to increase physical activity and strengthen the abdominal muscles that can help support the back. Weak abdominal muscles are one of the most common causes of low back pain. Strengthening these muscles can help with the stability and support of the lumbar vertebrae. Physical therapy can help restore mobility affected by:
- Herniated disk
- Back sprains
- Compression fractures
- Spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis in the back)
- Sciatica
- Osteoporosis/ Osteoarthritis
- Lumbar spinal stenosis


Chiropractors can also help with pain management and injury prevention by providing hands-on health care like spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation thrusts joints in the spine into their proper place, helping take pressure off certain areas of the spine and improve posture.

Back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in America, with nearly 60-70% of adults experiencing some form of lower back pain every year. Chronic low back pain can lead to missed work, high health care costs, and reduced quality of life. Fed up with a constant ache in your back? Get in touch with a real, quality doctor on Sesame to book a convenient and affordable back pain consultation. Doctors on Sesame will address your symptoms, recommend treatment options, and offer referrals if needed. Don't wait to treat your low back pain. Save up to 60% when you book an in-person or video visit on Sesame - no insurance needed.

How can I treat chronic low back pain?

Chronic low back pain is characterized by low back pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer. According to the NIH, roughly 20 percent of people who experience low back pain develop chronic back pain within the year. Most underlying causes of low back pain do not require serious medical attention and treatment plans may vary based on the patient’s risk factors.

Chronic low back pain may require an x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan to examine soft tissue and check for any internal injuries or growths. Conditions such as kidney stones can cause acute low back pain, and a physical examination might be required to help diagnose any underlying causes of low back pain. Chronic low back pain can be treated by a doctor using treatment options such as:

Chiropractic adjustments: Doctors can use spinal manipulation to adjust or stimulate the spine and the soft tissues surrounding the spinal cord. This can help relieve pain and increase mobility but is not recommended for people with underlying causes of low back pain, such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, or spondylosis.

Steroid injections: In some severe cases, a doctor may prescribe an epidural or corticosteroid injection to help relax muscles and relieve pain. Steroid injections can have adverse effects if used frequently, and provide only temporary relief.

Surgery: Back surgery may be required for severe chronic low back pain, or low back pain that is caused by degenerative diseases such as spondylolisthesis or arthritis. The exact surgical procedure varies based on the patient’s need, and back surgeries are not always successful. Surgery is often performed as a last resort to help relieve pain and regain some mechanical functionality in the back.

Whether you are experiencing acute low back pain, or have been dealing with chronic low back pain for several weeks, Sesame offers care from real, quality doctors near you. Don’t let low back pain control your life. Connect directly with a doctor on Sesame today to discuss treatment options that will work for you.

How long does it take for back pain to go away?

It depends. The causes of back pain are diverse, ranging from injuries (like a herniated disk or sprain) to medical conditions (like osteoarthritis or sciatica). Your prognosis is determined in large part by the condition causing your pain.

In most cases, back pain is treatable at home with some inexpensive remedies. If your symptoms are mild or moderate, a routine of exercise, stretching, hot/cold therapy, and OTC pain relievers can help the pain go away in a matter of weeks. Moderate back pain will usually start to disappear after about 6 weeks of treatment. While home remedies can help alleviate pain, it is recommended you consult a doctor about your condition. Connect on Sesame with real, quality doctors in to get the pain relief you need today.

If you have had a back injury, or are experiencing back pain due to a medical condition, it may take longer for your symptoms to start to go away. During your treatment, ask your doctor for medical advice about how to reduce recovery time and prevent further injury to your back. Stick to the dosage for any medication prescribed by your doctor, and supplement medical treatments with physical therapy or chiropractic care to improve mobility, if recommended.

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