Feb 10, 2015

Back pain can be debilitating, making it difficult to work, exercise or even sleep. If you experience pain after a fall or injury, tingling or numbness or severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest, it’s time to seek help. But before you rush off to a spine surgeon to treat your pain, there may be some other options to consider. In my experience, I’ve found that only about 10 percent of the patients I see truly need to be treated by a spine surgeon.

Instead, a better place to start might be with your primary care physician, who should have a better sense of your overall health. Other good caregiver alternatives include: physical therapistschiropractorsmassage therapists and acupuncturists.

The optimal choice for many patients, however, is a physiatrist. Also known as rehab doctors, physiatrists treat a wide range of issues impacting the musculoskeletal system and focus on helping patients become functional and pain free.

Physiatrists who specialize in back pain are a great option because they can offer a range of non-surgical options that often result in pain relief. (I find that once patients understand the risks and potential complications involved in surgery, their interest in surgery fades). They also work closely with surgeons, so if surgery is indicated, they can refer you to the surgeon.

Finding the right medical professional to treat your back pain or neck pain is crucial. If you have questions about your symptoms you can always feel free to call our office. Our Physician Assistants can serve as great resources as you start your journey towards pain relief. They can order the correct tests, start the conservative, non-surgical treatments, and align you with the physiatrists that are part of my network. This increases the timeliness of you treatment and decreases the delay in care.