Choosing the best spine doctor for your needs
The first step toward choosing the best spine doctor to help relieve your neck or back pain is to receive an initial diagnosis from your primary care doctor. Your general practitioner should ask you a series of questions, perform an examination and order tests to determine what is causing your symptoms. Often, neck or back pain is caused by a relatively minor issue, like a muscle strain, and the symptoms can improve over a short period of time.
Even if a degenerative spine condition, like arthritis or a bulging disc, is the cause of symptoms, your doctor will often first recommend basic conservative treatments. However, if your pain continues despite pursuing rest, hot and cold compression and over-the-counter medication, your doctor may refer you to a spine doctor for more involved treatment.
Considerations for finding the right spine doctor
Your doctor will typically know of a spine doctor that he or she can refer you to. This recommendation should be seriously considered if you know and trust your general practitioner, but it is also to your benefit to cast a wide search and make sure options are fully explored. To do this, you should take the following steps:
- Ask friends and family for recommendations.
- Don’t simply pick the first spine doctor you interview — seek a second or even a third opinion.
- Research physicians online at the websites for the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions about outcomes, complications and patient satisfaction
- Make sure you choose a physician you’re comfortable with. Someone can have a reputation as the best spine doctor in the world, but if his or her personality clashes with yours, keep looking.
If you need a spine doctor for surgery
If you are considering neck or back surgery, it’s important to understand your options. Traditional open back surgery is highly invasive, requires hospitalization and typically involves a long recuperation. The minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute is performed on an outpatient basis and has no lengthy recovery.^ We also have a dedicated team committed to patient-centered care — from the surgeons to the support staff.
Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more and receive a review of your MRI or CT scan* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our procedures.