Spine Specialists who Treat Back Pain
There are many specialists both within and outside of the modern medical profession who are trained and qualified to determine the causes and appropriate treatments for back pain conditions. Though many people who experience back pain immediate become frightened that the cause of their problem is due to arthritic spinal joints and discs, in the majority of cases the problem is due to muscular conditions that are treatable. And even in the cases where back pain is due to arthritic of the spine and degenerative disc disease, these conditions are also treatable. Your back spine doctor, working with patients who are willing to follow his or her treatment protocols, are able to successfully treat their patients in nearly all cases.
There are many different types of healthcare practitioners that are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of spinal conditions. Some of these healthcare practitioners include the primary care doctor who gives you your first physical examination, the radiologist who reads your X-Rays and MRIs, the physical therapists who treat your back problem non-surgically, and possibly, the surgeons who perform procedures in the low percentage of cases where it is determined appropriate. Each back spine doctor has a slightly different role, based on their training and philosophy, and where you are in the stage of your treatment. Beyond the diagnostic doctors and surgeons, there may be other types of professionals who may be involved with your exams and throughout the process of obtaining care, such as the X-Ray technicians, physical therapy assistants, clinical psychologists, and occupational therapists.
First, let's take a closer look at the spine specialists who treat back pain.
There are three broad groups of healthcare providers who are involved in the diagnosis or treatment of back pain:
- Primary Care Providers - Unless you suffer from a sudden crippling back spasm or trauma - requiring emergency medical treatment - your primary care provider will be the first person to evaluate you and the cause of your condition. Some primary care providers may be directly involved in the diagnostic and treatment process of your care, while others will refer you to the appropriate spine specialist. The three types of primary care providers involved with back pain conditions include:
- Primary Care Physicians (M.D.): Most people are probably the most familiar with primary care physicians, because anyone with health insurance has one. I know that whenever I sign up for a new health insurance, the first thing I have to do is pick a primary care physician. Unless you have a medical emergency, the primary care provider will be the first person you will see. Though your primary care physician probably won't be a spine specialist, he or she will be able to do several things. You PCP will be able to perform a physical examination, which will be sufficient to determine the cause of back pain in the majority of cases. The doctor may then be able to handle the case on his/her own, providing medications or physical therapy. The PCP will also be qualified to order the appropriate diagnostic tests when he/she needs more information.
- Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.)
- Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.)
- Spine Specialists - Spine specialists have a more in depth expertise in treating specific joints conditions or sections of the body, or with treating the underlying disease which your back pain is a symptom of. These specialists include:
- Therapists - These therapists are not involved in the diagnostic process of treating your condition or in manipulations of the spine to bring it back into alignment. These therapists may work with patients in dealing with the psychological effects in coping with chronic pain conditions or on back pain conditions that involve major injuries which involve patients who have difficulty with back skills, such as dressing and showering. These type of therapists include:
- Physical Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Clinical Psychologists