What is a back specialist, exactly?

What does it mean to be a back specialist? Though this may seem like a simple question, there are several types of back specialists, each knowledgeable in one area of spinal anatomy over another.

For example, two common types of back specialists are orthopedic specialists and neurologists. An orthopedic back specialist has expertise in the musculoskeletal system, such as the ligaments, joints and vertebrae of the spine. A neurologist specializes in the nervous system, including the spinal cord and peripheral nerves.

If you are looking for a neck specialist or back specialist, it is important to realize that the particular needs of your condition will determine which specialist to see.

Back specialist types

Generally speaking, there are three main types of back pain specialists you could choose from, with each working in an area of expertise that distinguishes them from another field.

  • Orthopedic specialists — An orthopedic specialist understands the infrastructure of the spine, specifically the vertebrae, discs, joints and ligaments that allow the spine to move and support the body. Often, orthopedic specialists recommend conservative treatments, like pain medication and physical therapy, to relieve symptoms of common spine conditions.
  • Physiatrists — Physiatrists have physical therapy and rehabilitation at the core of their knowledge. That’s why they often gravitate toward specialized practices such as sports medicine or rehabilitation of amputees. A physiatrist may be recommend for physical therapy and other exercises to help relieve your back pain.
  • Neurologists — A neurologist studies the central and peripheral nervous systems, which include the spinal cord itself and the surrounding nerve roots that send out sensory signals to the body. Because they are attuned to the nervous system, these back specialists may recommend pain medication as a way to block a pinched nerve from sending pain signals to the brain and other areas of the body.

In some cases, conservative treatment recommended by back specialists may be ineffective at relieving the pain and symptoms of a spine condition, in which case, surgery may be recommended.

Treatment options from Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer patients a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery. Our procedures are often the clinically appropriate choice between the two because of our shorter recovery times^ and lower risks of complication.

The surgical team at Laser Spine Institute features some of the most renowned orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons in the world. They are all experienced in the use of minimally invasive spine procedures to help treat neck and back pain.

Are you ready to find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures? Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review* and let our Laser Spine Institute team help you take the next step toward pain relief.