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Which Doctor To Go For Back Pain

What Type Of Doctor Specializes In Back Problems

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

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.

What Can I Expect From A Pain Management Doctor

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Chronic pain affects millions of Americans, negatively impacting their energy levels and overall quality of life. But they dont have to suffer alone. Pain management clinics are designed to address the unique needs of chronic pain sufferers, providing diagnosis of and treatment for chronic pain with either a targeted or comprehensive full-body approach. If you or a loved one suffer from chronic pain, heres what you need to know about pain management doctors and how they can help:

What does a pain management doctor do?

Pain management doctors specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pain, especially for patients with chronic pain that is difficult to diagnose. Once the doctor identifies the source of your pain, they can develop a treatment plan that works best for you. Treatment may involve physical therapy, medication, or chiropractic care, as well as nonmedical interventions such as yoga, meditation or dietary changes.

Types of pain treated by a pain management doctor

The list of medical conditions that can lead to chronic pain is long, but the types of pain treated by pain management doctors typically fall into three main categories: direct tissue injury, nerve injury, or a combination of both.

Examples of conditions that cause direct tissue injury pain:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Examples of conditions that cause nerve injury pain:

When Should Back Pain Be Checked

As mentioned earlier, most back pain improves in a few weeks with self-care and isnt a cause for concern. Still, back pain can be debilitating, and some patients need a doctors help to cope with the pain or treat the problem with nonsurgical or surgical techniques. Back pain also can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Its a good idea to visit a doctor if youre experiencing the following:

1. Nighttime PainFor some people, lying down in bed makes their back pain worse, no matter what position theyre in. They might not have any back pain until they go to bed. Although nighttime back pain may be caused by common conditions like a sprain or scoliosis, it can be due to something serious, like an infection, fracture, nerve compression or spinal tumor. You should always get looked at by a doctor for any condition that disrupts your sleep.

2. Weakness, Numbness or TinglingIf youre experiencing numbness, weakness or tingling with your back pain, you could have nerve damage or irritation. You should go to a doctor for nerve pain if it persists, especially if OTC pain relievers dont help. If nerve pain does not get treated, it can lead to permanent damage.

3. FeverA fever, along with back pain, can mean theres an infection. Spinal infections include vertebral osteomyelitis, meningitis or a spinal epidural abscess. Spinal infections require immediate medical attention.

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How To Choose A Pain Specialist

Your doctor can tell you which kind of specialist you need and possibly give you a referral. In choosing a provider, youâll want to find out their general approach to managing pain and how they would treat you specifically. Pick a doctor who:

  • Has the training and experience in treating your specific type of pain. Most will have done a pain medicine fellowship, which is training above and beyond a doctorâs training in a specialty.
  • Is âboard-certified,â which means they have passed in-depth tests in fields such as anesthesiology, neurology, or physical medicine and rehab
  • Has a good reputation in the medical community
  • Encourages you to ask questions
  • Allows you to disagree

Holistic And Osteopathic Specialists

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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.

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There Are Many Types Of Health Practitioners That Care For Patients With Spinal Conditions And Each Has A Slightly Different Role

Selection of the most appropriate type of health professional -or team of health professionals- largely depends on the patientâs symptoms and the length of time the symptoms have been present. It also depends on the type of spine abnormality seen on diagnostic studies.

The different types of health professionals who treat back pain tend to have varied training and interests. While it is common to begin with a primary care provider , if the patientâs back pain is resistant to initial treatment, the services of a spine specialist may be necessary.

How Orthopedic Treatment Can Help

Orthopedic spine specialists who don’t have a specialty in orthopedic surgery use non-surgical methods to treat patients who suffer from lower back pain. They specialize in musculoskeletal disorders that affect the lower back in people with sports injuries and other traumatic injuries, as well as disorders and diseases of the spine. They may work with other spine specialists mentioned above to manage the lower back pain and restore movement.

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Your Back Pain Interferes With Day

Quality of life is important, and if normal routine activities are becoming too much of a challenge, then its time to see someone who can help. Daily activities like walking, getting out of bed or bending over to reach objects shouldnt be a laborious effort. A back pain specialist will be able to pinpoint the source of your pain and offer solutions.

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!

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Internists And Family Practice Physicians

Internists and family physicians are the most typical entry into the world of medical treatment. The second most common reason for a visit to your primary care doctor is back pain. These individuals have one of the most difficult jobs. These doctors have to know about heart disease, circulation, lungs, liver, kidneys, diabetes, infectious disease, as well as spine. They have the hardest job in medicine.

These docs might initially use medications and activity restrictions. If their treatment is not effective, they might refer to a physical therapist. Some may refer to . Osteopaths may treat the problem themselves with manipulation and muscle techniques. No matter to which you go, if the problem is resolved, obviously there is no further need of treatment.

Various Factors May Increase Your Risk Of Pancreatic Cancer

Some of the risk factors for pancreatic cancer can’t be controlled. The American Cancer Society advises that family history and genetics may indicate a higher risk for the disease, as well as age, gender, and race.

“The risk of developing pancreatic cancer goes up as people age,” the site says, noting that almost all pancreatic cancer patients are over 45, and approximately two-thirds are at least 65.

“Men are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than women,” the American Cancer Society reports. “African Americans are slightly more likely to develop pancreatic cancer than whites.”

Research has shown that there may be a link between blood type and the risk of certain diseases, including pancreatic cancer. And the American Cancer Society cautions that some lifestyle choicessuch as diet, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, and heavy alcohol usecan impact your risk of the disease.

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The Function Of The Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve provides feeling and sensation throughout the leg and foot. This nerve is also responsible for most movement by stimulating the muscles in the leg to be able to feel and move. Due to the fact that it branches off into smaller nerves, it is able to accommodate a large area of the body.

What is Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica pain refers to pain that originates from the sciatic nerve. It causes pain that runs down your lower back through your gluteus maximus, and down your leg. You have a sciatic nerve that runs down each leg, however, in most cases, you only experience sciatica pain on one side of your body at a time. Due to the nerveâs massive size and length, sciatica can present in a variety of ways depending on the origination of the damage. Common symptoms include:

  • Numbness and/or tingling in the affected leg
  • Pain that ranges from mild to excruciating
  • Burning sensation in the affected leg
  • Muscle weakness

Everyone is different and may experience one or more of the above symptoms based on the severity and causes.

Treatment Of Back Pain

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Doctors treat back pain with various options, including medications, nonsurgical treatments, and surgical treatments.


  • Over-the-counter pain relievers taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs taken by mouth to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxants for some types of chronic back pain from muscle tension.
  • Anti-inflammatory or numbing injections for certain types of back pain that radiates or travels due to nerve compression or irritation.
  • Prescription pain relievers for severe acute back pain.

Other Treatments

  • Use cold packs to help relieve some back pain and hot packs to increase blood flow and promote healing in the muscles and tissues of the back.
  • Avoid bedrest instead, limit activities or exercise that cause pain. Gradually increase physical activity as tolerated.
  • Get physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles that support the back, which can improve mobility, posture, and positioning. Strengthening exercises can also help decrease pain. Check with your doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise routine.
  • Lifestyle changes teach you to:
  • Move your body properly when performing daily activities, especially those involving heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling. Avoid any activities that cause or increase pain.
  • Practice healthy habits such as exercise, relaxation, regular sleep, healthy diet, and quitting smoking.
  • Complementary and alternative treatments may help relieve pain. Some examples include:
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    Lifestyle And Home Remedies

    Neck pain is a common complaint, and there are many home care measures that can help relieve symptoms. Taking action at home offers many advantages its cost-effective, convenient, and does not involve taking pain medications.

    The following lifestyle and home remedies may help reduce neck pain or provide relief from occasional neck pain:

    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. Its 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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    How Is Back Pain Treated

    You can do several things to manage back pain. A conversation with your doctor or physiotherapist can help address any concerns you may have and help you to better understand your treatment. Remember that not all information is trustworthy, so let your healthcare team know about treatments you are considering before you begin them.

    Ways to manage back pain include the following:

    Strong pain medication is not recommended for back pain. Research shows strong pain medication provides little benefit and can cause side effects such as drowsiness, sedation and/or dependence.

    If you have severe back pain and your current medication is not adequately managing it, talk to your doctor about a suitable treatment plan. In some cases, your doctor may suggest an injection that can numb the pain such as an epidural injection, or a surgical procedure, such as a laminectomy to help manage your pain.

    There are many other treatments to manage back pain, but they have not been well proven. These include:

    • herbal medicines
    • heat and cold therapy

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    When To Seek Medical Attention For Back Pain

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    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

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    Back Pain Can Be A Warning Sign Of More Than One Type Of Cancer

    While back pain can be a warning sign of pancreatic cancer, it’s also a very common condition in adults. “540 million people around the world are affected at any one time,” reports The Good Body. “Eight in ten Americans will experience back pain in their lifetime.”

    Osteoporosis and muscle strain are just two of the potential reasons for back pain, but the cause can be much more serious. Pain in varying areas of the back can signal different types of cancers that include lung cancer, blood and tissue cancer, and pancreatic cancer, says Healthline, which also warns to look for other symptoms like changes in the bathroom, sudden weight loss, and weakness, tingling, or numbness in your arms and legs.

    Farrell also cautions that other symptoms associated with pancreatic cancer include “weight loss, dark urine, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, depression, pancreatitis, new onset diabetes.”

    How You Can Prevent Neck Pain

    Neck pain can affect anyone and can be both a chronic and acute problem. To keep your neck healthy, its important to develop good habits such as sleeping on a firm mattress and not staying in the same physical position for too long. Strenuous activities such as lifting heavy objects or participating in contact sports can bring on neck pain, so be sure to pay extra attention when performing these activities.

    When you are engaging in activities that require you to twist your neck or roll your shoulders, be sure to always keep your head centered and straight. You should also maintain the same height for any activity that requires straightening of the neck, such as looking at your computer screen or text messages on your smartphone. Make sure that when you are at work or sitting in bed reading that you are sitting up straight so as not to strain your neck muscles.

    You should also avoid sleeping in the same position for long periods of time as this can become uncomfortable and lead to neck stiffness and soreness. If possible, try switching between sleeping on your back or sides rather than always spending time lying down with your head turned in one direction or another.

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