A back doctor is a general term for any type of physician or alternative care provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating the conditions that are commonly thought to cause back pain. Patients are often very confused over which type of back doctor will best serve their needs and expectations. Most will choose a physician, such as their primary care provider, for their first consultation about a back ache complaint. They will usually be referred to a specialist, who will be an orthopedist, a neurologist or a physical therapist, in most cases. Other patients will go the complementary route and see a chiropractor, acupuncturist or massage therapist first thing.
A great number of people simply do not know where to go or whom to trust, so they try to solve their own pain concerns using home remedies or self-treat products. There is no clear cut and universally accepted proper path to finding back pain relief.
During my own back pain journey, I began treatment with a chiropractor in my teens. I consulted with and was treated by many different chiropractors over the years, as well as several medical doctors in the fields of orthopedics and neurology. I also sought relief from many different complementary caregivers.
There are many medical professionals who qualify to be called back pain specialists. The complex anatomy of the back involves bone, muscles, ligaments and nerves. This diversity of tissue creates the need for individual experts for each area of function and dysfunction.
No matter what type of care provider you choose, I urge you to consider undergoing proper diagnostic imaging for any known or suspected structural condition in the spine or muscular tissues. Without a clear diagnostic theory in place, the possibility for effective treatment goes way down. Without the documented evidence obtained through MRI, CT and X-ray studies, the chances for an accurate diagnosis are virtually nil. Therefore, without imaging, the hope for successful treatment is not good.
Medical science has fought a valiant but losing battle against back ache for the past 50 years. Despite huge improvements in knowledge and technology, there are more patients with unresolved back pain now than ever before. Statistically, a patient with chronic back pain that lasts more than a 6 to 12 months has a very low chance of ever finding true relief.
What exactly constitutes true relief? A real cure for back pain is defined as a permanent end to the pain and suffering. Most back and spine therapies only treat the symptoms and do nothing to actual resolve the causative issues (if these are even known).
There are more patients entering into long-term treatment regimens every year than there are recovering. This sad statistic has created an army of disabled patients with little hope for a real end to their tormenting back ache.
Read more about the various problems with many spine specialists who place the value of money on a pedestal far above the wellbeing of their patients.
Medicine is society’s greatest achievement. I am a big fan of doctors and the various health sciences. I give a tremendous amount of credit to anyone who can work their way through the extensive education required to practice medicine in any form. I acknowledge that some of the greatest minds in the world belong to the elite community of healthcare providers. However, I am also an open and outspoken critic of medicine’s great failures. In the case of back pain treatment, this failure occasionally borders on the criminal.
There are back doctors who perpetuate pain through their ongoing treatment agendas, even when they know no cure will ever take place. There are doctors who realize that the pain can not possibly come from the diagnosed source. There are doctors who perform unnecessary spinal surgeries on vast numbers of patients every year. The reason for these failures is simple…
Back doctors are products of their education and their surrounding society. It has long been denied that back pain or almost any other physical problems can not be the direct result of a psychological process. This is what some doctors were taught in school, so this is what these doctors practice. Meanwhile, irrefutable proof exists that the mind influences the general and specific health of every system in the body. Luckily, times have changed and new doctors are better prepared to deal with mindbody issues in their patients.
Medicine continues to seek a physical cause for conditions that are often caused or perpetuated by a non-physical process. Structural issues in the spine are blamed constantly for producing symptoms without any definitive proof of these irregularities being problematic at all. This is the #1 reason for the continuation of the aforementioned back pain epidemic. The worst part of it all is that the epidemic continues to grow, while the objectivity of some in the medical community shrinks day by day.
As far as society, we embrace and support these policies through our reluctance to get more involved in our own care and our preference for sometimes ineffective and often dangerous pharmaceutical and surgical modalities. Thankfully, patients are also getting smarter, taking more active roles in their care and understanding that many back ache problems are not structurally-motivated.
I would welcome the medical sector to silence my criticism and in fact, I pray for it
every day. The only way I will stop the critique is if I see real
progress towards ending the suffering of the millions of back pain
patients worldwide. I endured decades of pain that was
and mistreated while suffering in silence. Well, for the sake of the currently suffering masses, and more to come, my silence is over.
The time for change is now.
Let's simplify this article for those who still need some helpful thoughts about what to do when their backs hurt.
For the medical route: If you know you have purely bone-related spinal concerns, then an orthopedist may be your best choice. Any condition theorized to cause pain through nerve interaction, such as a herniated disc or sciatica, should be attended to by a neurologist. Functional issues and rehabilitative care should be presided over by a physical therapist.
For patients who want to take the alternative route, chiropractors make great all-around healers. They may be able to help you overcome a variety of health conditions, not just back pain. Just be sure to understand the nature of the treatment plan they intend to use on you in advance. Ask lots of questions if need be, there is no harm in deepening your understanding of the chiropractic profession.