What type of doctor would treat torn disc?

If you suspect that you have a torn disc, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. This is the best way to ensure that you will receive the prompt and effective treatment that you need. But, what type of medical professional should you see? The answer to this question is less than straightforward, mainly because each individual and spinal condition is unique. Many types of specialists can treat a torn disc, and each has different training, education and skills. The right specialist for you will depend on your specific situation and preferences.

Finding the right specialist to treat your torn disc

If you have an existing relationship with a primary care physician, osteopathic physician or chiropractor, you may want to start there. Your physician can review your symptoms, perform a physical exam and refer you to a spine specialist, if appropriate. To address your torn disc, your physician may refer you to one (or more) of the following types of specialists:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation physician (physiatrist). Physiatrists specialize in the conservative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Some physiatrists focus on either pain management or physical rehabilitation, while others practice both.
  • Physical or occupational therapist. Rehabilitation is often an essential component of torn disc treatment, and many therapists specialize exclusively in spinal rehabilitation.
  • Rheumatologist. If your torn disc is related to a rheumatic condition, such as ankylosing spondylitis, a rheumatologist can serve as your primary spine specialist.
  • Anesthesiologist. While many people think of an anesthesiologist as a medical professional who administers anesthesia during surgical procedures, this is not their only role. Many anesthesiologists specialize in pain management, and some focus on treating spinal conditions.
  • Orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. Spine surgeons typically have training and board certification in either orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery.

Prior to your first appointment with a specialist, be sure to jot down a description of your torn disc symptoms and the treatments you’ve already tried. This can help you communicate more effectively with a new physician.

If your physician has suggested that you see an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our team can provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive outpatient surgery, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^