Types of Back Doctors
This might be an interesting article for you to read if you have back pain and are not sure which doctor you should see. Are you suffering from an acute case of back pain and are not sure of which direction you should go for in your care? Have you already seen one or several back doctors and still have not found any relief? Are you simply overwhelmed with information and the many options that are out there? If any of these questions apply for you, then you should continue reading to learn more about your options. Here we will try to provide you with a brief overview of which types of back doctors are available to diagnose the cause of back pain and to treat it with medications, physical therapy, or back surgery.
The types of back doctors that may be involved in your treatment program include primary care doctors, radiologists, surgeons, physiatrists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and rheumatologists. Other types of board certified medical specialists that may be involved in your treatment program include chiropractors, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and radiologists.
Primary Care Doctors: Primary care providers will usually be the first person you will see for your acute back pain condition, unless in the event of a serious event or severe back pain that takes you the emergency room first. Your primary care doctor will then evaluate you to consider if your condition will get better on its own, or if it is a problem that requires physical therapy or medical testing. Though the symptoms of back pain are often intense enough to be completely debilitating, its cause is usually due to the types of short-term injuries known as the sprain and strain type.
Sprain and strain type injuries typically involve a strain of the back muscles or a sprain of one of its ligaments. These injuries may be serious enough to leave a person bedridden and unable to move at all without eliciting severe pain. Nevertheless, these injuries won't need any aggressive medical treatments and they will resolve themselves on their own. Typically, patients are told to avoid the types of injuries that caused the strain and sprain types of injuries in the first place. These same patients may also be told to ice the sore areas and to maybe take anti-inflammatory medications until the bulk of the symptoms have subsided.
Your primary care provider will record your symptoms and then provide you with a physical examination. Your patient history and physical examination alone should be enough to tell doctors if you have an injury that will correct itself or require further medical attention. The two most common tests used to evaluate for arthritic or inflammatory conditions are blood testing and X-Rays. Blood testing will help doctors to rule out or include inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or spondyloarthropathies.
Spondyloarthropathies are a class of inflammatory conditions that affect the spine and are associated with the gene HLA-B27 gene. Blood testing may confirm the presence of the HLA-B27 gene. Rheumatic conditions that are associated with this gene include undifferentiated spondyloarthropathy, inflammatory bowel disease-associated spondyloarthropathy, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis (including Reiter's syndrome, and ankylosing spondylitis. Not all people who are diagnosed with one of these diseases test positive for the HLA gene, but the vast majority do. Spine specialists such as rheumatologists are the most qualified to diagnose rheumatic disorders and to develop treatment programs to control the inflammation of the affected joints.
Primary care doctors may want to schedule patients for diagnostic tests such as X-Rays, CT Scans, MRIs, and ultrasound to actually see the internal structures of the back. X-Rays may show obvious structural abnormalities with the body elements of the spine itself and the joints that move and protect it. MRIs will offer more detail about the health of the soft tissues such as the spinal ligaments and the discs, and whether the spinal nerves are intact or being compressed.
Radiologists and neurologists are qualified to read these medical imaging results and to pass on their findings to the doctors that ordered the tests.