When you’re experiencing back pain, who do you call first? Most would say their primary care provider is the first resource, and they wouldn’t be wrong. However, there are many types of clinicians who treat back pain, which can make it difficult to know how to proceed. Each type of practitioner has a slightly different role, varied training, and interests. For example, a chiropractor will approach your treatment in their own way, while an orthopedist will evaluate and treat your back pain with their approach.
So, where do you go?
The best clinicians to treat back pain include:
- Primary Care Providers: This is “your” doctor. The one you call when you have any variety of healthcare concern, especially because they can refer you to another specialist should you need more involved care. Your primary care provider may recommend prescription medications to manage pain and inflammation or refer you to a physical therapist.
- Rehabilitation Therapists: The first-line treatment for many back conditions is physical or occupational therapy. These are noninvasive and can work miracles in improving your mobility, strength and stamina while alleviating pain. Physical therapists are well versed in making customized treatment regimens using therapeutic exercises, manual therapy and modalities that can significantly improve your quality of life and reduce pain.
- Chiropractors: These clinicians diagnose and treat back pain associated with the muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems. They manually adjust the spinal column through adjustments and manipulations to alleviate pain. They may also use massage, ultrasound, electric or heat therapy and introduce holistic wellness concepts such as nutrition or lifestyle changes that could improve your back pain.
Spine specialists are healthcare professionals who focus mainly on treating spine conditions, for instance:
- Rheumatologists: These physicians specialize in treating arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases involving the joints, muscles, and bones. They are experts in treating rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and tendinitis.
- Pain Management Specialists: A pain management specialist is a doctor who evaluates your pain and treats a wide range of problems including low back pain. Patients are seen in a clinic and can go home the same day. Pain management doctors offer a mix of medication-based treatments and procedures that can stop the pain at its source. Although called pain medicine or interventional pain management specialists, many of these doctors are anesthesiologists or physiatrists.
- Surgical Spine Specialists: When it comes to surgical care for the spine, there are two types of specialists who are trained to perform spine surgery, Orthopedic Spine Surgeons and Neurosurgeons. The main difference between orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons is in the training. A neurosurgeon is trained to treat conditions of the nervous system and spine, while an orthopedic spine surgeon specializes in treating the spine. They are both experts at diagnosing and treating back pain and spinal conditions that are too complex to be treated nonsurgically. However, even if you are referred to a spine surgeon, it does not mean you will necessarily require surgical treatment because surgery is often the last resort when noninvasive therapies fail.
- Neurologist:A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases that affect the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves and muscles. Neurologists are primarily associated with treating neurological conditions with symptoms like headaches, tingling sensations, numbness or loss of feeling, and pain.
Comprehensive Spine Institute Treats Back Pain – Contact Us for an Appointment Today!
Our board-certified doctors and staff at Comprehensive Spine Institute know how dealing with a spinal condition can significantly impact your quality of life. We also know how choosing which doctor to see can be puzzling, intimidating, or overwhelming. That’s why we thoroughly educate our patients about their specific spinal condition and discuss all available treatment options – both nonsurgical and surgical. We help you make educated decisions so you feel understood and comfortable every step of the way in diagnosing, treating, and managing your back pain so you can achieve the optimal outcome.
To schedule an appointment with Comprehensive Spine Institute for back pain, please contact us at (727) 300-2537 today.