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"Choosing a Back Pain Doctor Made Easier"

Back pain doctors are physician that are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain.  Initially, many back pain suffers seek medical attention at the office of their primary care physician.  The primary care doctor is usually a trusted health care practioner that typically begins conservative care via medication(s).  Normally it is either  pain medication, anti-inflamatories, and/or muscle relaxers that are prescribed.  They may also be given a prescription for physical therapy and x-rays. 

But what happens when conservative care fails, and the condition remains unchanged?  It is at this point that the back pain suffer is referred out to a specialist.  That is, a back pain doctor, usually one of three:

  1.  An orthopedist for back pain.  An orthopedist is a common recommendation of many family doctors.  An orthopedist is a specialist in the disorder of the musculoskeletal system.  It is here that once sought, the orthopedist should specialize in spinal conditons and/or disorders.  He/she should also be board certified to perform spinal surgery if ever the circumstances called for it.
  2. A Neurologist for back pain.  A neurologist can be another good choice if recommended by your primary care doctor.  Usually this option is immedialey sought for patients presenting with radicular nerve symptoms.  Essentially, a neurosurgeon can perform surgery same as the orthopedist with some minor changes in “how” the surgery is is done.  Devil being in the details.
  3. Pain management doctor.  Pain management doctors can be referred by those primary care physicians who take greater initiative in the treatment process.  They may have already ordered an MRI and if they have a good working relationship with a pain management doctor, then this potentially becomes an option.  This seldom is the case since many general practioners would simply rather refer out the entire matter than take part in a more complex case that is outside the scope of their own expertise.

Which Back Pain Doctor Should You Pick?

It is probably a good idea to get the opinion of both an orthopedist and neuro surgeon when suffering from back pain.  Both can bring valuable information to the table and as it works, establish a team approach to your diagnosis.  This is not always a viable option since both sides sort of “compete” for your business.

While many back pain clients often seek the advice of a chiropractor, I did not list it with the other “back pain doctors” because chiropractors are not physicians.  While they hold a doctorate degree in chiropractic care, they do not possess a medical degree and therefore do not qualify as physicians.  Still, as a healthcare practioner, they remain a viable option for some individuals.

Back pain is not life a threatening conditon, but can be deemed a medical emergency when pain symptoms reach severe levels or neurolgical symptoms present in a way that call for immediate attention (loss of bladder or bowel control for instance).  When this is the case, a planned visit with a back pain doctor may not be suitable, and a trip to the emergency room is in proper order instead. 

Please visit a qualified healthcare professional for the proper diagnosis and treatment of your back pain condition by visiting “your” back pain doctor today.

 

When to see a back pain doctor? By Tommy Hoffman, Licensed Physical Therapist


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