Types of doctors to see for back pain

Back pain is something many people will experience in their lives, but it doesn’t have to be something that keeps you from living your life. Mild back pain may force you to rest for a day or two, but back pain that begins to last for weeks or more can get in the way of your relationships, work, favorite activities or just getting a good night’s sleep.

Although seeking diagnosis and treatment of your back pain may be a source of anxiety, it is important to understand that long-term relief is possible and does not necessarily require surgery. If you are unsure about where to start or what type of doctor to seek out, the following information is intended to help you be a more confident and engaged patient as you seek the lasting relief from back pain that you deserve.

Start with your primary care physician

Typically, your first step should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. Your physician can perform a physical exam and ask a series of questions to determine the cause of your pain and recommend your next steps for treatment. He or she may also order diagnostic testing like an X-ray or MRI.

Upon diagnosis, your doctor may also recommend basic conservative treatments like over-the-counter pain medication, hot and cold compression therapy and lifestyle changes like posture improvement, weight loss or quitting smoking. This recommendation will be based on the location and severity of your condition, as well as your medical history and lifestyle. In some cases your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may seek out one yourself, if it is believed you require more involved care.

Spine care specialists

There are a variety of spine care specialists that your doctor may refer you to in an effort to help you determine what is causing your pain and suggest the best treatment options. Some of the most common types of spine care specialists include:

  • Chiropractors. These doctors are trained to identify disorders and diseases of the musculoskeletal system and perform treatments, such as adjustment or therapeutic massage, to help with spinal alignment.
  • Physical therapists. These medical professionals help patients improve mechanical body function and treat people with many different types of spine conditions. Targeted stretching and strengthening exercises can strengthen supporting muscles to improve posture and relieve pressure on the spinal column.
  • Spine surgeons. Orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons are trained to treat spine conditions such as spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spinal canal. Spine surgeons can perform spinal decompression procedures to relieve neural compression, which is sometimes accompanied by a spinal fusion.

If you are still unsure about where to go for treatment after an appointment with your primary doctor, contact the team at Laser Spine Institute. We have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain with our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery and we are here to guide you through the treatments available to you.

After reviewing your MRI or CT scan at no-cost,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.