Topics in Specialists of Back Pain Medicine
Back specialists include physicians, chiropractors, and other healthcare practitioners who are specialized to treat musculoskeletal disorders such as back pain. These specialists are either trained to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of back pain, or to assist the physicians and chiropractors who evaluate medical tests and prescribe treatments for orthopedic conditions. These specialists may treat disease by physically manipulating the muscles to ease muscle tension, or by easing the joints and vertebral bones back into their proper positions. These specialists may also treat disease by the application of treatments to the body surfaces to reduce muscle tension or joint inflammation, through therapies such as icing and TENS electrical stimulation. There are other medical treatments that are designed to reduce inflammation around the structures of the body that are inflamed or affected by degenerative changes to the joints. These anti-inflammatory treatments include pharmaceutical medications and those that are listed under the categories of alternative therapies. Alternative supplement therapies are associated with fewer side effects, but they are also unproven. Various back specialists may be available for consultation to tell you which treatments work to reduce inflammation, and which ones don't, and what to expect when you decide on a course of therapy. Let's take a look at some of the most trending topics in specialists of back pain medicine.
Specialists Who Treat Back Pain: There are many types of specialists who are well trained in orthopedic medicine and the treatment of spinal disorders. These physicians, and the associated professional assistants who support their work, each have a slightly different training history and skill set. The sine professional that you do see will depend on the types and severity of symptoms that you have, and the diagnosis that you have been given - if any. The type of treatments and care that you receive will be related to the educational and clinical backgrounds that the physician has in his or her field. Back pain medicine is part art and part science. Some treatment modalities, such as chiropractic, work superbly for some patients, while others experience no relief related to chiropractic adjustments. Some patients experience several months of relief from glucocorticoid injections, administered by physicians in main management's clinics, while other patients with the exact same type of back condition receive no relief at all. For any given back condition or diagnosis, there is no universal rules to guide patients as to which spine specialist or type of treatment is the best. Sometimes, patients will just have to make decisions based on their best judgment and the recommendations of the doctors that are responsible for their care.
Here are some of the most popular topics in back pain medicine.
Artificial Disc Replacement: Orthopedic Surgeon Scott Blumenthall, of the Texas Back Institute in Plano Texas, makes these suggestions to those patients who may be candidates for artificial disc replacement.
For the majority of patients who have spine conditions such as degenerative disc disease and herniated discs, doctors make the recommendation to attempt conservative treatments first before any types of surgery to repair or remove the diseased structures. These treatments usually include therapies to reduce the inflammation around the infected nerves (including medications and pain injections) and physical therapy to build up muscular support around the affected structures of the spine. In many cases, these treatments do work, and in others the symptoms remain or progressively get worse. Eventually, it may be apparent to the doctors monitoring the case that surgical removal of the affected discs is necessary to decompress the affected nerves, for the patient to experience some back pain relief. Patients may have the option of removing the disc and fusing the adjacent vertebrae, or replacing the diseased disc with an artificial one.
Total disc replacement may or may not be a better option than the conventional discectomy and fusion operation. If you do decide to do the replacement disc rout, it is essential that you choose the right spine surgeon to give you your best shot at permanent pain relief and minimal chance of post-operative complications.
Here are some of Blumenthall's suggestions for choosing the right doctor or osteopath to perform this operation.
Find a spine surgeon who performs this type of surgery on a regular basis. Unlike artificial knee and hip replacements, this type of procedure is relatively uncommon in most surgery centers. Some surgeons, at some centers, may perform this type of procedure, but not regularly. To know that you are in good hands, you should make sure that during the operation you will be under the care of a board certified orthopedic or neurological spine surgeon. Ask your board certified doctor how often he had performed this procedure and how many times he or she has done in it in their entire career. Find out if they are active in that specialty of spine surgery by through journal publications and if they are leaders in this specialized area of spine care.