If you’re doing a Google search for “spine specialist near me,” it’s important to understand that not all back doctors can diagnose and treat your specific condition. There are numerous medical specialists responsible for treating different types of spine pain. Here are a few you should be aware of.
Family and General Practitioners
A primary care physician is the first doctor you should see if you start experiencing neck or back pain. They may order a few diagnostic tests to identify the cause of the pain and refer you to a specialist, such as an orthopedist or chiropractor. Family and general practitioners are typically not well-versed in the latest treatments for spinal conditions and you should definitely see a specialist if your pain persists.
If your child is experiencing back or neck pain, then they should be seen by their pediatrician. A pediatrician will perform a physical exam, order diagnostic tests, and make a referral to a specialist for further testing and treatment.
Emergency Room Doctors
If your pain needs immediate medical attention, then head to the nearest hospital for emergency care. Emergency room doctors can perform a physical evaluation, order diagnostic tests, and discuss with you the next steps in obtaining treatment.
An orthopedic doctor is a board-certified surgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. An orthopedist is qualified to address conditions affecting the spine, such as ruptured discs, scoliosis, and other types of neck or low back pain.
A rheumatologist is a board-certified physician who specializes in treating various forms of arthritis. Some rheumatologists specialize in inflammatory arthritis; this disease can be present in the spine as ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions. A rheumatologist can also help treat spinal stenosis, sacroiliitis, axial spondylosis, and other related issues.
If your back or neck pain is associated with the nervous system, then you may need to see a neurologist. This type of spine specialist can help address Parkinson’s disease and other conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. You may also consider visiting a neurologist if your back or neck pain is chronic and persistent.
However, a neurologist does not perform spine surgery, so you may need to see a neurosurgeon for surgery.
Depending on your condition, a neurosurgeon may perform surgery on your brain, the spinal cord, or on the spine itself. A neurosurgeon’s expertise lies in the diseases and conditions affecting the nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. If all other non-surgical treatment has failed to provide relief, then you may need to undergo neurosurgery.
An osteopath is a board-certified physician who has completed extensive study of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopathic physicians are trained to identify environmental and lifestyle factors affecting health and may perform hands-on manipulation to treat spinal conditions.
If you’re searching for a “spine specialist near me,” you may come across chiropractors. These spine specialists perform adjustments to correct the position of vertebrae and important muscles affecting the skeletal system.