Do I Need a Chiropractor or an Orthopedic Physician for Spine Pain?
When experiencing spine or neck pain, you may be wondering who to turn to? Both chiropractors and orthopaedic physicians are well versed in providing treatment plans and pain relief to patients, however, their approach and capabilities vary and should be considered carefully. There are many factors such as the type of injury, longevity of injury, previous treatments, and pain level that determine the course of treatment or the type of specialist you’ll need to see. Your primary care physician is always a great starting point when determining the appropriate specialist or course of treatment.
A chiropractor is a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) To become a chiropractor they must obtain a bachelor’s degree before completing a certified chiropractic program, which can take up to four years as well as completion of a clinical internship.
Chiropractors offer non-invasive techniques that focus on restoring the alignment of the spine so that the body can heal itself. If the spine is out of alignment, it can result in pain, discomfort, and even nerve damage. Chiropractic care seeks to properly align your spine so that your brain can send messages through your nervous system without interruption, ensuring that your body is functioning as effectively as possible. They use techniques such as adjustments, muscles stimulation, massage, heat, acupuncture, and joint mobilization.
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While there are many benefits to chiropractic care, there are times when a condition cannot be properly treated by a chiropractor or even times when it could worsen the issue. If it is determined that chiropractic care is not a good option for you, it’s possible that an orthopaedic physician can diagnose and treat you in either non-surgical or surgical ways. Those will usually benefit from seeing an orthopedic spine specialist who can perform a more complete scope of care, including pain management, physical therapy, and surgical options.
Orthopedic Spine Specialists
An orthopedic specialist is a medical doctor (M.D.) In addition to completing a bachelor’s degree, they go on to complete four years of medical school, a one-year internship, and four years of residency in orthopedics. The orthopedic physicians at CMC Orthopaedics also completed an additional year of fellowship in their sub-specialties, such as spine surgery or pain management.
Orthopedic physicians are trained in the treatment, diagnosis, and rehabilitation of various injuries, disorders, diseases, and complex issues related to the musculoskeletal system. They use proven approaches based on the science of medicine to treat spine and neck pain. Orthopedic spine specialists can use various tests such as x-rays, CT, and MRI to form a complete diagnosis and develop a treatment plan designed specifically for you. They can use a combination of treatments to address your issues, including pain management, bracing, physical therapy, injections, and minimally invasive spine surgery.
Depending on the severity of the root causes of your back and neck pain, surgery may be the best option for treatment. Chiropractors are not licensed for surgery so an orthopedic surgeon is the best option for your care.
Although there are vast differences between the types of care that chiropractors and orthopedic spine specialists provide, there is crossover between the two. It’s not uncommon to see them refer patients to each other to provide a full scope of care to their patients. It’s ultimately up to you and your primary care physician to decide what approach is right for you.
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If you are suffering from spine, neck, or back pain, let the fellowship-trained orthopedic spine specialists at CMC Orthopaedics get you pain-free and back to doing what you love. Our highly specialized, fellowship-trained physicians, work as a team to provide comprehensive, outstanding patient care.