The majority of adults will experience some degree of lower back pain during their lifetime, most without fully understanding its cause. While most minor back pain will subside after six to eight weeks, those who struggle with lower back pain discomfort for an extended period of time may need to seek the help of a professional in order to receive treatment and long-term spine care. It is becoming more common for individuals struggling with lower back pain to find a professional such as a chiropractor or medical doctor focused on providing non-surgical spine care as a less invasive way to manage back pain. Before deciding on a spine care treatment program, it is important for patients to understand the differences that exist between various spine care providers and the options for surgical and non-invasive treatments.spinecare
Most individuals trying to manage back pain will visit a chiropractor prior to seeking out diagnosis and subsequent treatment from other medical professionals. A chiropractor focuses on manipulation of the spine to reduce the discomfort of lower back pain, based on the relationship that exists between the spine and the nervous system. Through continuous, usually long-term chiropractic appointments, patients are assisted in establishing normal spine function and mobility through repetitive adjustment. This treatment regimen may work to temporarily ease back pain for some, but chiropractors will often refer patients to a medical doctor for holistic treatment.
Professionals working in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation, or physiatry, diagnose and treat patients suffering from back pain in a different manner than chiropractors. PMR specialists are medical doctors with extensive training who focus more on whole body health and spine care through physical therapy and other non-surgical spine care options. Specifically, PMR doctors take ample time to diagnose the underlying cause of lower back pain through analysis of a patient’s medical record, a complete physical exam and diagnostic testing such as X-rays or MRI scans when necessary. Once the cause is determined, PMR specialists as medical doctors can prescribe medicine to ease back pain, may recommend spine care exercises or physical therapy regimens, or may suggest icing or heat therapy at home. Additionally, PMR doctors may also provide patients suffering from intense pain injections for treatment into ligaments, joints and muscles, including epidural or facet joint injections. Each of these treatment options are in an effort to rehabilitate a patient and promote spine care health without the need for invasive surgery.
Both chiropractors and PMR doctors are focused on bringing patients back to a place of comfort through non-surgical spine care. While chiropractors offer patients temporary pain relief through spinal manipulation, PMR doctors are more focused on holistic healing and long-term spine care. Each can be a viable alternative to invasive surgery, however, and may be the next step in your return to spinal health.