Too many back pain providers?
How many kinds of professions care for your teeth? That’s right, only one: dentists. How many professionals can care for you when you have a back problem? Chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths, orthopedists, neurologists, sports medicine doctors, massage therapists, sports trainers, general family doctors, physiatrists, tai chi instructors, and acupuncturists, just to name a few. Each with their own perspective and unique way for caring for you in your time of need.
Is it no wonder that people are confused about where to go when they experience headaches, neck pain, or back pain? Especially when that pain won’t go away with the usual round of pain killers and muscle relaxers. You could literally spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours going from professional to professional looking for an answer to your problem without really getting any long term help. And many have done just that.
But with as many options as you have when you have a nagging or disabling spinal pain, there is a simple way to understand your care options. Ask each professional how they’re going to treat your pain, and the differences begin to stand out.
Who uses drugs to treat back pain?
When it comes to the first choice in treating your back pain, neck pain, or headaches, pharmaceuticals are usually the first thing that medical providers recommend. Which means family medical doctors, orthopedists, neurologists, and some osteopaths can be grouped together. When it comes time for you to be evaluated for your pain, these professionals will make sure that your spinal pain is actually coming from your spine, and not from your internal organs, and will offer you a pharmaceutical to help you deal with the pain as your body recovers.
Who uses surgery to treat back pain?
When persistent pain is involved, and you haven’t responded to either stronger drugs, or even a course of physical therapy, the following providers may recommend surgery: orthopedists, neurologists, and some osteopaths. Family medical doctors might recommend surgery after referring you to another specialist. If your orthopedist or neurologist has a surgical specialty, they may be more inclined to recommend surgery for your care. In almost all cases, x-rays and MRIs will be used to diagnose a degenerative condition in the joints of your spine before surgery is recommended.
Who uses manual therapies to treat pain?
When it comes to helping patients or clients to chronic or acute pain, the following professionals use manual approaches: chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists. Depending on their history with manual therapies, some medical doctors, like osteopaths and orthopedists will use some manual therapy in certain cases. In many cases medical providers feel most comfortable with referring you to a physical therapist for care. Some medical providers also refer to doctors of chiropractic as well.