Should I See a Doctor or Chiropractor for Back Pain?
Whether it was caused by tension from sitting at a desk all day, an injury that occurred from an accident or fall, or an underlying medical condition, most of us have experienced back pain. In fact, nearly 100% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. For some, this pain will be acute, while others will experience chronic back pain that lasts for months.
Regardless of the root cause of your back pain, it can be difficult to decide which type of doctor you should visit for treatment. If you’ve already visited your primary care doctor, and still haven’t found relief, then you may be wondering about your next steps. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into some of your treatment options and help you determine the best option for relief.
Doctor vs. Chiropractor: Who Should I See For Back Pain?
Traditionally, most people dealing with back pain are advised to seek initial treatment from their family doctor or a primary care physician. In most cases, your doctor will prescribe muscle relaxers or prescription pain medications. While these treatment options can provide you with temporary pain relief, they do little to treat the actual cause of your back pain. There’s also a risk of becoming dependent on certain medications.
When Medications Don’t Work
If medications don’t work for managing your back pain, then your doctor may refer you to either a physical therapist or an orthopedic surgeon. Some studies suggest that physical therapy works best as a supplement to other treatment options. On its own, however, it often falls short of eliminating pain or improving mobility. And, orthopedic surgery often causes adverse effects that may make your back pain even worse.
Visiting a Chiropractor
Another popular option for back pain treatment is visiting a chiropractor. Many patients who suffer from back pain turn to chiropractors as a last resort after other treatment options have failed. They usually employ non-invasive treatment methods such as spinal manipulation, high-velocity low amplitude thrusts, and table adjustments. They may also suggest dietary or lifestyle changes to manage your pain.
While in many cases, these treatment options are more effective than prescription medications and less risky than surgical procedures, chiropractic care alone can fall short in other areas. This type of treatment is wonderful if an injury or spinal misalignment is the root cause of your pain, but you may still require further treatment if any underlying conditions exist.
The Truth About Back Pain
The truth is that back pain is a complex health issue. Because each patient’s condition is different, there’s no straightforward approach to treating back pain. You may require diagnostic testing and treatment from a variety of healthcare professionals to identify and treat the root cause of your condition. That’s why multi-disciplinary practices are the best option for thorough treatment.
Multi-disciplinary Practices: The Best of All Worlds
When you visit a multi-disciplinary practice with an integrated medical department, you’ll receive collaborative, non-invasive treatment from a team of orthopedic specialists which includes MDs, DOs, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other specialists. A study conducted by Cochrane found evidence that multi-disciplinary treatment provides more relief than traditional treatment options as well as those that focus on physical factors alone.
A Variety of Practitioners in one Convenient Location
A multi-disciplinary team of doctors continuously communicates about your progress and refers you to one another for each step of the treatment process. At a multi-disciplinary treatment center, you’ll have access to a variety of practitioners in one convenient location including:
- Chiropractors for physical adjustments
- Medical doctors to prescribe medications and injections as needed
- Physical therapists to aid in injury recovery
- Acupuncturists to improve bodily functions and stimulate self-healing
- Massage therapists to treat problem-specific areas
You’ll basically have everything you need in one convenient location. As a result, you’ll save time and money by eliminating the need to travel to multiple offices. You also won’t have to worry about repeatedly explaining your symptoms and condition to each additional physician. All in all, this is the most cost-effective and efficient treatment option.
Primary Spine Practitioners
Multi-disciplinary care centers have given rise to a new healthcare credential–the primary spine practitioner. Also known as primary spine physicians, PSPs are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating spine-related conditions. They’re a great first option for non-invasive back pain treatment.
Primary spine practitioners favor a minimalistic, non-invasive approach to treatment. Treatment from a PSP can provide a variety of benefits including:
- Faster recovery
- Increased mobility
- Lower medical costs
- True, long-lasting relief (reducing your chances of becoming a “chronic pain sufferer”)