Back pain is a frustratingly common occurrence in the United States, with nearly 80% of people experiencing back pain sometime in their life, according to the American Chiropractic Association.
If you find yourself experiencing soreness and pain long your spine, it would be best to contact a lower back pain doctor or chiropractor — but which one is best for you?
What Kind of Doctor Do I See for Back Pain?
There are many doctors to see for back pain, so it can be confusing to find the one who would most effectively solve your problems — a back doctor vs. chiropractor.
Broadly speaking, the doctors who can help alleviate your spine problems fall into the following categories:
- primary care providers
- spine specialists
- back pain doctors
When you’re back gets seized up in a fit of debilitating pain, a primary care provider will be the first person you should call. This group would include lower back pain chiropractors, primary care physicians, and doctors of osteopathic medicine.
These doctors assess the causes and remedies to your spine and would help if you have multiple pain locations that expand outside your spine.
The second group — spine specialists — mainly deal with issues concerning spinal conditions. They deal with back pain but are trained to understand the intricacies of the central nervous system.
Should you need surgery on your spine, spine surgeons have the expertise to handle that fragile organ with little harm done to you. Physiatrists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and rheumatologists also reside in this category.
Finally, Therapists help rehabilitate mobility and function after back injury or surgery. Should something go wrong in operation, and you need extra time to recuperate, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and clinical psychologist in this field would be your best friend.
Should You Go to a Doctor or Chiropractor for Back Pain?
The answer is always yes.
You should see a back pain doctor or chiropractor. In such a case, there’s no difference between a back doctor vs. chiropractor — any help is good.
Back pain could resolve itself easily with minor changes in your life, such as switching out your shoes for ones with more supportive souls or buying a firmer mattress.
Often, though, you’ll need a highly-trained lower back pain doctor to determine how best to treat your back pain. Perhaps there’s something wrong with the discs in your back, or there’s a pinched nerve somewhere.
You won’t know until you have a doctor or chiropractor check your back out.
While you shouldn’t ignore back pain, there are many reasons why someone wouldn’t want to see a doctor for their spine.
First off, in the United States, back pain doctors or chiropractors tend to congregate in larger cities, meaning they might not be available in your area. Luckily, Beach Pain Center is located just east of downtown Fort Worth.
Secondly, it might cost too much to see them. Most insurance companies should cover you if you have back pain — especially if you’re growing older. But some might be more skeptical, as many have claimed back pain to acquire insurance benefits. The potential of having to cover medical costs out of pocket could be enough to determine anyone from receiving care.
Lastly, you might be overconfident that the problem will go away on its own. You’ve most likely figured out a symptom to make your back hurt as little as possible, augmenting that system with time.
You’ll learn to manage it, but you’ll never learn to treat it until you go to a doctor or chiropractor.
When Should I See a Chiropractor for Back Pain?
You should see a chiropractor if you’ve had chronic back pain. If you’ve never had back pain before, “chronic” could mean something different to numerous people, but the best tell would be if back pain had not gone down in a week or more.
If at-home back pain treatments don’t work in conjunction with resting, the problem most likely won’t go away until such a specialist has checked it out.
Secondly, you should contact a back pain chiropractor as soon as possible if your severe back pain starts to travel to different parts of the body. Pain that shoots down your leg, especially down the foot, betrays a condition more serious than a strained muscle.
You could have slipped a disc or damaged a nerve. Worse, there could be a threat of cancer that you won’t know until you have a lower back pain chiropractor or doctor check you out.
Another instance in which you should go to the chiropractor is if numbness, weakness, or tingling accompanies your back pain. This could be a sign of nerve damage or something else as equally severe. The pain could travel to your legs, different areas in your back, or elsewhere in the body since the spine is the central nervous system’s hub.
Pain at certain positions is another reason to call the back doctor chiropractor. If you’re fine standing and walking around but feel excruciating pain while bending over, something’s not right, and you should call your doctor.
Other reasons to contact a spine specialist include unexplained weight loss, fever, and problems with bowel movements or urination. In all these cases, your body is trying to tell you that something isn’t right. You should listen to your body and see a doctor.
Chiropractor or Orthopedist for Back Pain?
Both can offer insight into the origins of back pain, and they’ll both be able to diagnose proper treatment options.
However, one may be more suited to handle your needs than the other.
Chiropractors understand how deeply and intimately the nervous system and spine intersect and involve each other. They believe that if they rehabilitate the spine’s structural integrity — giving you a straight, unhindered spine — many of the neurological, physical, and mental problems of an uneven spine will mostly dissipate.
They’re like a mechanic offering a full tune-up of your car. Just like your car’s engine, a weak spine leads to nervous and musculoskeletal issues. A lower back pain chiropractor has the knowledge to get you revved up and ready to go.
A back pain chiropractor isn’t perfect, though, and they may still refer you to medical doctors or other spine health practitioners, such as an orthopedist.
An orthopedist’s knowledge includes the spine but goes beyond it as well to include the whole musculoskeletal system. They can deal with back pain, dislocations, ruptured or displaced disks, lower back pain, sciatica, and other health issues causing pain.
An orthopedist can diagnose a spine or back pain injury or disorder; help treat it with surgery, medication or exercise; rehabilitate outstanding issues with your spine, if necessary; and offer you preventative measures to stave off back pain. In short, they’re much like a lower back pain chiropractor or doctor but with knowledged generalized to the whole body.
An orthopedist’s practice will offer non-surgical methods of treatment in half its diagnoses, offer surgical interventions in the other half. Some issues, such as with the nerves, joints, bones, muscles, or skin, might not be treatable without surgery.
What Does a Chiropractor Do for Lower Back Pain?
They’ll manipulate the muscles and bones in the spine to induce proper alignment, such as popping certain bones out of place or snapping bones back into place.
They might cause a significant amount of pain in the process, but most skilled chiropractors can help people feel much more energetic and aligned after a session. When deciding what to do about your back pain, choose the chiropractor to help decompress your spine, and revamp your life.
Contact Beach Pain Center
If you have back pain and are seeking chiropractic advice and treatment, our top-rated doctors are here to help.
Our office offers free chiropractic consultations to discuss your pain and recovery timeline.
Contact our office to get started today.