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What Is the Musculoskeletal System?

Muscles, Bones, Joints, Ligaments, Tendons


Updated June 27, 2014

What Is the Musculoskeletal System?
Photo by chrisharve (Stockexpert)

Question: What Is the Musculoskeletal System?

In reading about arthritis, the term musculoskeletal frequently appears.

  • What is the meaning of musculoskeletal?
  • What is the musculoskeletal system?
  • What type of specialist treats musculoskeletal disorders?


Musculoskeletal Explained

Musculoskeletal is a general term which is defined as relating to muscles and the skeleton. The musculoskeletal system involves the:

  • muscles
  • bones
  • joints (the place of union between two or more bones)
  • bursa (fluid sac between the muscles and bones that forms in areas of friction)
  • ligaments (a fibrous band of tissue connecting bones)
  • tendons (a fibrous band of tissue connecting muscle with bone)

What Type of Specialist Treats Musculoskeletal Disorders?

Rheumatologists and orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in these disorders. Rheumatologists diagnose and treat conditions such as arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis by prescribing rest, physical therapy and medications which may include corticosteroid injections. Orthopedic surgeons do the same but will perform surgery if a patient is not responding to conservative treatment.

Dr. Zashin is a clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of TNF Blockers. The book is useful for anyone on one of the biologic drugs or considering biologic drugs.

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