Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is musculoskeletal medicine?
Musculoskeletal Medicine is a branch of medicine that deals with acute or chronic musculoskeletal injury, disease or dysfunction. Its aim is to address the somatic dysfunction, which is an impaired or altered function of the components of the somatic (body framework) system. The somatic system includes the skeletal, arthrodial and myofascial structures with their related vascular, lymphatic and neural elements. (Hospital Adaptation of International Classification of Diseases, 2nd Edition, 1973).
Musculoskeletal Medicine relies upon a carefully taken medical history and a very detailed physical examination. The objective is to localize a complaint to a specific region and, if possible, a specific anatomical structure, and to define its malfunctioning biomechanical relationship to movement and function. The physician then makes a logical analysis and develops a tailor-made management plan from the information obtained. In the majority of cases, a musculoskeletal physician can formulate a very specific diagnosis, thereby delivering very targets-oriented treatments with very high success rates. There is a growing evidence base for musculoskeletal medicine and this is an important part of our training.
Doctors with qualification in Musculoskeletal Medicine in Hong Kong are qualified Medical Practitioners that have undergone extensive university postgraduate training in Australia or New Zealand and obtained quotable Master degree or Postgraduate Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine recognized by the Hong Kong Medical Council.
2. Is musculoskeletal medicine similar to physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy or traditional Chinese bone setting?
Whilst the various disciplines of physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy and traditional Chinese bone setting have successes in their own modalities on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal problems, Musculoskeletal physicians are unique in that they are all qualified medical practitioners that have undergone extensive University postgraduate training and obtained quotable Master degree or Postgraduate Diploma in Musculoskeletal Medicine recognized by the Hong Kong Medical Council. Hence a musculoskeletal physician should be able to provide you with
3. What ailments can benefit from musculoskeletal treatment?
The aim of our Musculoskeletal Medicine treatment is to correctly diagnose somatic (bodily) dysfunctions, including restricted joint motion, muscles which are in spasm or which are hypotonic, altered muscle firing patterns and tightness or laxity in connective tissues such as ligaments, joint capsules or fascia. Such dysfunctions can cause joint laxity and instability, joint restrictions, pain, nerve hypersensitivity, or vascular and nerve entrapment.
The followings are the problems/ conditions typically responding well to the musculoskeletal treatments.
4. I have a disc bulge in my back - can Musculoskeletal Medicine help?
Disc bulges are a common finding in CT scans and MRIs of the lumbar region. Researches had shown that there is no direct relationship between the CT or MRI findings with the severity of pain. In other words, patients with no or minimal CT or MRI disc changes can have severe pain while patients with very severe pathologies on CT or MRIs can have only minimal symptoms. Musculoskeletal physicians can help in defining the contribution of the disc bulge to the complaints of pain in the back and /or legs, as well as in looking into the biomechanical factors which may be disordered so that the root causes of the pain can be identified. After thorough evaluation of the clinical features, those patients really benefited from surgery will be indentified and appropriately referred to; for other patients who do not need surgical treatments, a structured treatment and home exercise program can be individually formulated to stabilize and strengthen the lumbar area, and to improve function.
5. What about problems with the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and feet?
Peripheral joints and their performance can certainly influence our body's biomechanics. The biomechanics of our body is like a train with different compartments being linked up by joints. A defect in one joint can affect the performance of the rest of the joints. A simple example is that persistent pain in one knee will eventually be transferred to other knee because our body will help the painful knee by shifting part of its load (our body weight) to the other knee which in time will overload the other knee causing pain and dysfunction. Also pain in one joint can be transmitted to the joints above and below. An example is that an osteoarthritic knee can cause pain in the ipsilateral hip or ankle when the body attempts to ship part of the knee biomechanics to the hip above and the ankle below. Therefore to identify how the biomechanics of the body works and to identify the root cause of the peripheral joint problem is an important area of musculoskeletal medicine. Our musculoskeletal physicians are fully qualified to diagnose and treat all the peripheral joints.
肌骼醫學是醫學的一個分支，以處理急性或慢性的肌肉骨骼損傷、疾病或功能失調為主。其目的是針對軀體功能障礙（somatic dysfunction）進行干預；軀體功能障礙指的是我們軀體 (soma) 組件的功能受到損害或改變。軀體包括了骨骼、滑動關節和肌筋膜的結構，以及相關的血管、淋巴管和神經元（Hospital Adaptation of International Classification of Diseases, 2nd Edition, 1973）。
椎間盤突出是電腦斷層掃描（CT）及磁力共振造影（MRI）在檢查腰椎時的經常發現。研究表示，CT及 MRI發現的椎間盤突出與痛症的嚴重程度並沒有直接關係。換句話說，CT或 MRI結果顯示沒有出現或出現極小椎間盤突出的病人還是可以有很嚴重的痛症；而掃描結果顯示有嚴重椎間盤病變的病人可能只有輕微的症狀。肌骼科醫生可以幫助確定病人的背痛及/或腿痛多少是來於椎間盤突出，多少是因生物力學問題使椎間盤突塊的問題擴大所引致。一般來說，在詳細評估病人的臨床特點後，肌骼科醫生就可以找出背痛的根源，適當轉介需要手術的病人，對不需要手術的病人，則制定一份適合病人的治療方案及家居運動計劃，幫助病人穩固及加強腰椎的活動，並改善腰椎的功能。