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Old 11-05-12, 08:53 PM   #1
Tycho Brahe 
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Silly question: what type of doctor do I need?

I have no current major physical issues, but my body is not what it used to be.

I have two nagging issues:

One is my left shoulder "doesn't feel right", and it has been like this for over ten years. If I do pushups, my left shoulder is the first thing to give. Last year, my shoulder actually froze up. No pain, but my left shoulder is definitely like my right one.

Second is my left glute/hamstring, not sure which. I started road biking this year, and my left glute/hamstring sometimes has a slight pain and feel tense. I think my problem is that I tense up my left leg while doing fast descents. I now alternate between legs and the issue has mostly gone away. I noticed that I tense up the same leg when I play guitar!

I am clueless about doctors. My feeling is that a general practitioner would not be much help and that a physical therapist would only be helpful after a diagnosis. But what type of specialist do I need? From searching, it seems like an orthopedic doctor would be what I am looking for. Definitely for the shoulder, not sure about the glute/hamstring issue. I am so clueless, I don't even know which muscle has the issue! While looking for an orthopedic doctor in my area, I found a place called something like Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Institute. Is Sports Medicine a real thing? Sounds like my best bet. Or is a general MD the way to go?

Waiting to be schooled...
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Old 11-05-12, 08:56 PM   #2
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Let a GP decide, that is what they do.
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Old 11-05-12, 08:56 PM   #3
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In many parts of the world, you have to go to a general practitioner first who will then recommend that you go to a specialist if necessary.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:21 PM   #4
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I don't really see much point in going to specialists for either of your issues. You've lived with your shoulder for 10 yrs and it doesn't seem to be giving you much trouble except maybe you can't do as many pushups as you'd like. You'll likely get an MRI of your shoulder and it may show some slight tear or problem in the rotator cuff. It's highly unlikely you'll want to get surgery for such a minor issue.

I suspect your GP will give you a referral to a good physio and they can give you some exercises to strengthen your shoulder and glutes/hamstring.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:28 PM   #5
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I never had much much luck with general practitioners, but thankfully I have seen so few in my life (knock on wood). All they ever do is make you wait forever, take your blood pressure, and then say "I don't know what's wrong" and refer you to a specialist. Last one almost convinced me that I might have a serious disease, but he was waaaaaay off. I don't have time to waste on someone that is not good at their job.
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Old 11-05-12, 09:32 PM   #6
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I never had much much luck with general practitioners, but thankfully I have seen so few in my life (knock on wood). All they ever do is make you wait forever, take your blood pressure, and then say "I don't know what's wrong" and refer you to a specialist. Last one almost convinced me that I might have a serious disease, but he was waaaaaay off. I don't have time to waste on someone that is not good at their job.


So you come here to get medical advice from unknown bicycle riders?
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Old 11-05-12, 09:41 PM   #7
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We also give financial advice.
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Old 11-05-12, 10:08 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tycho Brahe View Post
I never had much much luck with general practitioners, but thankfully I have seen so few in my life (knock on wood). All they ever do is make you wait forever, take your blood pressure, and then say "I don't know what's wrong" and refer you to a specialist. Last one almost convinced me that I might have a serious disease, but he was waaaaaay off. I don't have time to waste on someone that is not good at their job.
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[/SIZE][/SIZE]So you come here to get medical advice from unknown bicycle riders?[/SIZE]
Some of whom are as young as 13 years old!!


In Canada, you can't go to a specialist until you go to a GP. If you want to see a Sports Doctor, you have to go to a GP, get the referral, and then go to the Sports Doctor. If you walk into the Sports Doctor clinic and ask for an appointment, the receptionist will ask for your referral ... don't have one ... no appointment.
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Old 11-06-12, 09:31 AM   #9
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Here in the good ol' US of A, you can see any doc you want, as long as you can pay for it. If you want insurance to help defer the cost, then you need to comply with the terms of your insurance policy, which can range from seeing anybody you want to having to go to a specific primary care physician and getting referred only to docs within their little network. My relatively low-cost policy is like the latter. If I decide I want to see a specialist, I have to see my PCP and get her to agree. She always does, but it has been an inconvenience at times, mainly with acute issues.
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Old 11-06-12, 12:20 PM   #10
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Here in the good ol' US of A, you can see any doc you want, as long as you can pay for it. If you want insurance to help defer the cost, then you need to comply with the terms of your insurance policy, which can range from seeing anybody you want to having to go to a specific primary care physician and getting referred only to docs within their little network. My relatively low-cost policy is like the latter. If I decide I want to see a specialist, I have to see my PCP and get her to agree. She always does, but it has been an inconvenience at times, mainly with acute issues.
Sounds identical to Canada except we have government insurance. You can still see private specialists but you'll have to pay.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:05 PM   #11
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As an adult my little sister decided to take up swimming for exercise, but had problems with one shoulder.

It turned out that when she was 4 years old she darted out into the street.
One of my parents ran after her and grabbed her arm and yanked her out of the street just in time to keep her from being run over by a car.
It was enough to injure her shoulder, probably dislocated it but it slipped back into the socket on its own.
My sister was too young to remember the incident; and my parents forgot to tell her.
Somehow it worked its way into conversation 25 years later. It was quite a relevation to my sister when she found out why her one shoulder was different than the other.

Ask your parents about your medical history while you can (if you can). You might turn up something relevant.
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Old 11-06-12, 08:41 PM   #12
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In Canada, you can't go to a specialist until you go to a GP. If you want to see a Sports Doctor, you have to go to a GP, get the referral, and then go to the Sports Doctor. If you walk into the Sports Doctor clinic and ask for an appointment, the receptionist will ask for your referral ... don't have one ... no appointment.
Imagine a country where you cannot go to a specialist bike shop until you go to Walmart first and get a referral. Furthermore, Walmart might not give you the referral if they conclude that a Walmart bike suits your requirements. hahaha.
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Old 11-07-12, 04:49 AM   #13
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Get naked and check your posture in the mirror. Take pictures as you would normally stand. Check your posture. Your posture might be off, which is causing one side of certain muscles to work harder. Otherwise, get it checked out by a professional.
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Old 11-07-12, 10:14 AM   #14
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Yeah, sports/ortho is a real thing. I would check with any of your active friends and see if they have a recommendation for an ortho doc (recommendations against bad docs are useful too).

When you make an appointment, you should try to see an MD or whatever the most medically trained practitioner is FIRST, and then they will recommend you "down" to a physical therapist after diagnosing. PTs tend to treat, MDs diagnose.

the usual path to treatment is
-see GP IF your health insurance requires you to see your primary doc to get a referral to a specialist. otherwise, straight to specialist, = ortho/sports medicine doc
-see ortho doc
-doc may order tests (MRI, CT) or may know enough from the exam to diagnose/treat you
-doc will recommend either surgery or physical therapy or medications

You want to be careful because SOME ortho surgeons may tend to recommend surgery rather early- you want to explore all non surgical options (PT, meds, alternative/accupuncture/etc) before you cut.

Some sports medicine clinics have medical bike fitting available - which can be really useful for something like your hamstring issue - a change of position on the bike might be needed.

If you can't find what you are looking for in Monterey, S.O.A.R. clinic in the bay area is good, and Spokesman Bicycles in Santa Cruz has a great bike fitter - Wade.
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