Should I See a Chiropractor or a Spine Specialist? 

Neck and spine pain are no joke—when you’re suffering from pain in those areas, the pain is all you can think about. But where do you go to get relief? Your friends and family may give you advice, but really, you need concrete guidance on what to do when you’re suffering from debilitating spine pain.

There are a plethora of factors including the type of injury, the length of time that you’ve had the injury, past treatments, and pain level that decide the course of treatment or the type of specialist you will need to see. Your primary care physician is the first person you will talk to when deciding on a specialist or choice of treatment, but from there, the possibilities of addressing your issue tend to fall into two camps: chiropractic care and orthopaedic care.

Key Similarities

While chiropractic care and orthopaedic treatment are different specialties, they can work in tandem to treat patients in a holistic manner that serves to alleviate pain and discomfort ranging from an array of issues. After all, the goal of both chiropractors and orthopaedic physicians are the same: addressing musculoskeletal issues to improve a patient’s quality of life through restored mobility and less pain.

Chiropractors diagnose and treat health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects those problems have on the nervous system. Orthopaedic physicians focus on the prevention and correction of disorders, diseases and injuries of the joints, skeleton, muscles, and other supporting structures. Both specialties counsel patients on nutrition, lifestyle changes, stress management, and exercise. They will also refer patients to physical therapy if necessary.

Here are a few of the key differences in these complementary specialties:

Chiropractors focus on non-invasive methods that focus on the realignment of the spine. If your spine is out of alignment, it can lead to all sorts of complications like pain, discomfort, and even nerve damage. Chiropractors use hands-on techniques such as adjustments, muscle stimulation, massage, heat, acupuncture, and joint mobilization to align your spine so that your brain can adequately send signals through your nervous system without disruption. Some spinal issues cannot be treated by a chiropractor alone and will need to be addressed by an orthopaedic spine specialist to complement the chiropractic adjustments.

Orthopaedic Physicians
Orthopaedic specialists are trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of various injuries, disorders, diseases, and multifaceted issues related to the musculoskeletal system. They use science-based approaches to dealing with your individual issues and utilize tools such as CTs, MRIs, and X-Rays to tailor treatment to your body’s specific needs. They may also perform orthopaedic surgery on you if you need it. Just as those seeking care from a chiropractor make seek an orthopaedic doctor’s assistance to attain well-rounded care, individuals may benefit from receiving chiropractic care in addition to treatment by an orthopaedic doctor.

The Right Care to Correct Your Pain in the Neck (and/or Spine!)

While both chiropractors and orthopedic specialists deal with spinal issues using different modalities, the treatment options offered by each can certainly serve to complement one another. The right care will come down to your individual spinal problem, but your primary care physician can help guide you with his/her medical expertise so that you can get on the right path for your individual healthcare needs.

If you are suffering from spinal problems, let the specialists at Southlake Orthopaedics help you! We are proud to have Dr. Daniel Kim on board at both of our locations (Grandview and MedPlex off Valleydale Road). Dr. Kim’s specialty is spine surgery, and he most recently completed his fellowship with Twin Cities Spine Surgeons, one of the birthplaces of modern spine surgery. Dr. Kim’s goal is to provide the best standards in spine care from spinal deformity surgery to minimally invasive procedures. Dr. Kim completed medical school from the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and then completed his orthopaedic residency training at the University of South Alabama, where he served as Academic Chief Resident. He also holds a Master of Science in Physiology from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. You can trust our team at Southlake Orthopaedics to provide you with personalized and compassionate care while utilizing the most advanced medical technology available. Contact us today for more information or have your primary care physician refer you to us so that you can get back to living a pain-free life!