Sports medicine is the management of conditions related to physical activities or athletics that promotes risk-reduction and recovery from injury. Sports medicine physicians undergo extensive training in musculoskeletal medicine, the study of muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and joints.

There are surgical and nonsurgical sports medicine specialists who have undertaken additional fellowship training through a sports medicine program certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. This is a designation to seek when looking for a sports medicine provider.

Primary care or nonsurgical sports medicine specialists provide nonoperative management of musculoskeletal injuries, the vast majority of sports injuries and musculoskeletal pain.

These physicians focus on orthopedic health and provide nonsurgical treatment options to help patients recover from injury or acute pain to return to their regular level of activity.

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Nonsurgical sports medicine physicians treat acute injuries such as concussions, simple fractures, stress fractures, tendon/ligament/muscle injuries, overuse injuries and joint pain. This can be accomplished through treatment like a rest-to-exercise regimen, rehabilitative care, medication management, injection therapies or splinting/casting/bracing. So, whether you are a competitive athlete, weekend warrior or just want to maintain an active lifestyle, sports medicine offers many advantages.

Patients with a chronic or nagging injury or who have concerns about arthritis can benefit from sports medicine. So can individuals who suffer shortness of breath, cough or fatigue during exercise. Also, a sports medicine physician can help individuals determine whether their pain requires surgery or whether other treatment options are available. When surgery is necessary, a sports medicine physician can help provide referrals to a surgical team.

Dr. Joseen A. Bryant is on staff at Community Hospital in Munster. She is board-certified in family medicine through training at Northwestern and fellowship-trained in sports medicine through MacNeal Hospital near Chicago. Bryant has worked under the guidance of sports medicine physicians who provide care to collegiate and professional athletic teams including Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago, Robert Morris University and the Chicago Bulls, Sky, White Sox, Bears and Blackhawks. She treats patients of all ages and can be reached at 219-365-1166.

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