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Which Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

Be Proactive About Your Back Pain Treatment Plan

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

If the current treatment plan for your back pain isn’t working, consider researching various spine specialists on your own. There may be a different type of health professional who is better suited to treat your condition.

Before you see a specialist, write down a clear description of your symptoms and the treatments you’ve tried. This written record can help you to better communicate with your new doctor. Also, don’t be shy about seeking a second opinion if you think it will help alleviate your back pain.

Specialists That Can Help Your Back And How To Pick One

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Low back pain is one of the most common medical complaints, so family doctors see a lot of back pain patients. But if four to six weeks of painkillers and exercise therapy doesn’t help a patient, it may be time for a specialist. Many insurance companies require that you get a referral from a family doctor or another primary care physician before they will cover the cost of a specialist.

Between orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, physiatrists, neurosurgeons, and osteopathic physicians, it’s hard to know which doctor can best treat your pain.

Each approaches treatment from a different perspective. No treatment is guaranteed to give relief, so your choice will depend in part on your attitude toward the body and medicineand your doctor’s own philosophy.

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Contact Citrus Spine To Discuss Your Back Pain

If you have experienced any of the warning signs above, it may be time to schedule an appointment with specialists at Citrus Spine. Our board-certified healthcare providers will listen to your concerns and review non-surgical or surgical options with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

If you are experiencing back pain symptoms, you should never ignore or try to suffer through the pain. Always consult your doctor and have open conversations. If you are not satisfied with your doctor or require specialized care, it is recommended to get a second opinion from a back pain specialist.

Dr. Toumbis is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University in 1987, then continued on to receive his Masters in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in Experimental Pathology from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine with a distinction in Biomedical Research. After moving to Florida to complete his internship and residency in orthopedics at the University of Florida Shands Hospital, he went on to pursue a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic’s Florida Spine Institute. He moved to Citrus County and has been in private practice since 2005.

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What Type Of Doctor Specializes In Back Problems

Orthopedists. Orthopedic doctors and surgeons are trained experts in the healing functions relative to the musculoskeletal system. This type of doctor is board certified and can help to treat any issues you may have with pain in the neck, spine, disc-related pain, and other common back pain complaints.

Other Types Of Spine Specialists

When Should I See Doctor For Back Pain

Orthopedists arent the only type of doctor that can treat back pain. Depending on whats causing your pain, you may need to see a:

  • Neurologist Neurologists specialize in conditions affecting the nervous system.
  • Physiatrist Physiatrists specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
  • Rheumatologist Rheumatologists specialize in systemic autoimmune conditions and other diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system.

Keep in mind that insurance companies often require a referral from a primary care provider before theyll cover visits to a specialist, so you may want to start out by making an appointment with your PCP.

Also Check: How To Cure Lower Back Ache

Cracked Worn And Broken Teeth

If the muscles, teeth, and jaw joints do not work properly, there is an imbalance in the bite. When your bottom and top teeth come together, there will be excess pressure on some teeth because of misalignment. It causes cracked, worn, and broken teeth in general. Additionally, patients with jaw misalignment disorder try to grind or clench their teeth and cause broken teeth as well. If you have a regular checkup with your dentist, they will tell you if they noticed the symptoms of crack from grinding and clenching.

When To Seek Medical Attention For Back Pain

It can be difficult to know when to go to the doctor for back pain. Generally, there are two major indicators of when its time to visit a doctor:

1. If your back pain doesnt go away after a week or two, you should see your doctor. While its more likely your pain isnt a sign of a serious medical emergency, your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis and start treatment.

2. If you have other symptoms that accompany your back pain, you might require medical attention. See your doctor immediately if youre experiencing back pain with symptoms like:

  • Increasing weakness in your legs
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

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Holistic And Osteopathic Specialists

In the event of chronic or severe back pain, many individuals tend to prefer to see osteopathic or holistic specialists. These types of doctors and professionals include osteopathic physicians and chiropractic specialists.

Osteopaths are put through the same training and licensing/certification processes that all medical doctors must obtain to practice medicine, but they tend to do additional studies of the musculoskeletal system. They then will prefer to treat pain problems medically, but with an additional emphasis on the potential lifestyle and environmental factors which may be contributing to the pain problem.

Chiropractors are trained in the proper alignment of the spine and may be able to provide some of the most immediate relief to back pain problems. This is done through periodic adjustments and treatments that attempt to maintain alignment and prevent further pain issues.

How Common Is Back Pain

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

If youre like most Americans, youll probably have back pain at some point in your life. Four in five adults suffer from low back pain. Luckily, most back pain goes away within one to two weeks. But if your pain is long-term or chronicand if you have certain symptoms with your low back painyou may want to see a spine specialist.

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When Should I See A Doctor About Back Pain

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About 80% of adults experience back pain at some time in their lives. It’s one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss work. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, sudden and debilitating pain.

For most people, back pain is mechanical in nature, which means the elements of your back and how they move together has changed.

Possible back conditions could include:

  • Muscle or ligament strain

    Heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the muscles or ligaments in your back. Also, if you are overweight or in poor physical condition, the constant strain on your back can cause muscle fatigue and muscle spasms.

  • Bulging or ruptured disk

    Disks are the cushions between the bones in your spine. You can have bulging or ruptured disks that may or may not cause pain by compressing a nerve root and causing pain that radiates into the leg.

  • Arthritis

    Disks may narrow over time and cause your vertebrae to grind together resulting pain.

Most back pain even severe back pain goes away on its own in four to six weeks with self-care, such as rest, heat or ice, over-the-counter pain medication and exercise.

Surgery often is effective to correct a spinal deformity or instability issue. Surgery also is helpful to treat pain radiating down a leg due to compression of a nerve root in the spine if other conservative treatments have failed. However, surgery is not considered a good treatment for generalized back pain.

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What Are The Long

If you are taking painkillers to manage your back pain, chiropractic treatment can help you to reduce your dependence. As with the short-term benefits, you may notice greater freedom of movement following chiropractic treatment.Improved mobility allows you to return to doing the things you love most and simply completing important, everyday tasks.A critical long-term benefit of chiropractic treatment is being able to get back to exercising safely. Exercise has a range of health benefits and helps to maintain a healthy weight.

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Also Check: What Causes Lower Back And Hip Pain

What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

Until youve had to deal with back pain, it can be hard to understand just how much of a toll it can take on your daily routines. Back pain can make it difficult to do things as simple as standing up, walking around, and climbing stairs. If the time has come to seek treatment for ongoing back pain, you may be wondering where to turn. Of course, if youre experiencing a life- or limb-threatening condition, youll want to call 911 or get to the closest emergency room as soon as possible. But for non-emergency conditions, your best bet may be to consult with an orthopedist.

Many types of chronic back pain can be treated by orthopedists, preferably those who focus on the spine. Orthopedists are doctors who specialize in conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, which encompasses the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves. While some of these physicians practice general orthopedics, others focus on a subspecialty, with some devoting their entire career to conditions affecting the spine.

Massage Therapy Relieving Tension

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A massage, on the other hand, is performed by a licensed massage therapist who applies direct pressure to soft tissue or muscle groups to relieve pain and promote healing and wellness. Unlike chiropractic treatment, massage treatment focuses solely on the stimulation of muscles and is not used to treat pain associated with the spine, joints or tendons.

There are multiple benefits to massage therapy including relaxation, increased energy and mood enhancement. Many find that receiving a massage following chiropractic treatment can promote additional healing and decrease discomfort and inflammation after treatment.

Both of these options can be used to treat temporary, situational or chronic pain. Not sure which treatment is right for you? Listen to your bodys pain points. In either scenario, talk with your doctor to determine if these options are right for you. If you cant afford a chiropractor or a massage specialist due to health insurance, check out our plans to see how Priority Health can help you ease your back pains!

Read Also: What Can I Do To Reduce Lower Back Pain

When To See A Doctor For Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions more than eight in 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why your back may hurtfrom a pulled muscle to more serious back and spine conditions. The type of discomfort ranges from a dull backache to sharp pain. The most common type of back pain is acutewhich means it goes away within weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a doctor for back pain is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild backaches and find relief with at-home care measures. But, its important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires a professional medical diagnosis and treatment.

Medications For Sciatica Pain Relief

Different medications can help with pain and inflammation from sciatica, including:

Oral anti-inflammatory medications

Its best to start with over-the-counter options before talking to your doctor about prescription options. Oral anti-inflammatory medications can provide fast-acting, short-term pain relief. Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are often recommended but ask your doctor about what makes sense for your unique situation.

Topical ointments, gels or creams

Topical creams, ointments and gels for sciatica can block nerve pain and relax the muscles that may be causing discomfort. Even better, they start to work right after you use them.

Most people find that these products help at least a little bit. But not all people experience sciatica in the same way, so look for one that says it will treat the symptoms you have. If youre pregnant, it can be a good idea to look for one that says its safe during pregnancy.

To use, rub the ointment, gel or cream near where it hurts. Its also important to apply the product to the rear pelvis the area thats closest to the sciatic nerve root. Sciatica starts at the nerve root, so if youre able to stop the pain there, you may be able to stop it from spreading.

Prescription medications

Your doctor may prescribe different types of oral medications for sciatic pain, including:

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Groin Pain Treatment At Home

If your groin pain is the result of a strain, you can treat it at home. The RICE protocolrest, ice, compression and elevationcan help reduce swelling and allow the area to heal.

Follow these steps to address groin pain from muscle strain:

  • Get as much rest as you can to allow the injury to heal and avoid strenuous activity.
  • Put an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel or pillowcase for up to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. When the swelling goes down, you can use a warm heating pad on the area.
  • Wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage, but dont make it so tight that it causes numbness, increases the pain, or causes swelling.
  • Elevate the injured area whenever you can, keeping it at or above the level of your heart.

If you need pain relief, try over-the-counter NSAID medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen . If the pain doesnt improve, call your healthcare provider, as some groin pain requires medical treatment.

Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor

When should you see a doctor for back pain?

There are a variety of medical doctors who treat specific sets of conditions. Because it is impossible for one physician to treat all types of conditions and injuries that affect the human body, doctors specialize in subfields of medicine. Through this specialization, a physician becomes an expert in a distinct subfield of medicine and can diagnose, treat, and prevent issues within that subfield. One such field is orthopedics.

An orthopedic physician is an expert on the musculoskeletal system . Because back pain is most often caused by injury or damage to one of these components in the back, orthopedic physicians are often referred to for diagnosis and treatment.

Using advanced education and training, orthopedic physicians can pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a fracture, herniated disc, muscle strain, or damage to connective tissue. Orthopedic doctors can correctly diagnose the exact cause of the back pain and recommend effective treatment for it.

Orthopedic physicians have access to state-of-the-art and advanced medical technology and treatments that are proven to be effective for musculoskeletal issues. Because of this, when a patient has back pain, orthopedic physicians can offer treatments that will give fast and effective results. Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain.

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What Is The Most Common Cause Of Lower Back Pain

Most commonly, mechanical issues and soft-tissue injuries are the cause of low back pain. These injuries can include damage to the intervertebral discs, compression of nerve roots, and improper movement of the spinal joints. The single most common cause of lower back pain is a torn or pulled muscle and/or ligament.

You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week

Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.

Read Also: Can Scoliosis Cause Back Pain

We Feel And Heal Your Pain

Painful joints may not always be avoidable, but they are certainly treatable. If you are experiencing persistent back pain due to an injury, illness, work conditions or any other reason, an orthopedic physician can help. Call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at 644-1880 to find out what can be done to relieve your pain and get you back to doing what you enjoy the most.

How Do You Know If Back Pain Is Muscle Or Disc

Do I See Primary Doctor For Back Pain

While pain in your mid-back may be related to a disc, it’s more likely caused by muscle strain or other issues. Your symptoms feel worse when you bend or straighten up from a bent position. Movement can increase pressure on the herniated disc and the surrounding nerves, causing symptoms to increase.

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What Do They Aim To Achieve

Chiropractic cares primary aim is the removal and prevention of musculoskeletal-related problems. They focus on restoring normal functional movement to the spine and strengthening the surrounding structures.

Physiotherapy primarily aim is to improve the movement and function of your joints and muscles to get you back to normal mobility. They focus on exercises to improve flexibility, mobility and strength.

As you can see their goals are essentially the same.


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