Back pain is all too common, affecting a significant portion of the U.S. population. It could be caused by poor posture, overuse or injury, aging and degeneration of the spinal discs, or lifestyle factors. It is immensely important to get to the underlying cause of back pain in order for treatment to be effective.
If you are experiencing back pain, you may be thinking of what type of specialist to see, as there are different practitioners that can help relieve back pain. In this article, we will discuss types of back pain specialists and where to go in Rochester Hills, Michigan, for the expert management of back pain.
Practitioners Who Treat Back Pain
There are several types of practitioners whose specializations allow them to treat patients with back pain. Here are some examples:
Orthopedic surgeons are highly trained in treatments of the musculoskeletal system, including the spine. An orthopedic spine surgeon has received additional training in spine surgery and can treat common and complex spinal issues that cause back pain, such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, arthritis, and fractures.
Orthopedic surgeons can also enlist the services of other specialists to create a comprehensive treatment plan for patients.
Pain Management Specialists
Pain management specialists are doctors who specialize in the management of chronic pain. They use a multidisciplinary approach to treat back pain, including medications, injections, physical therapy, and other non-surgical interventions. Some of the treatments a pain management specialist can provide include steroid injections, nerve blocks, and radio frequency ablation.
- Steroid injections contain corticosteroid medication that helps reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain in the targeted area by suppressing the immune system’s inflammatory response. Steroid injections can be administered into joints, such as the facet joints of the spine, or around inflamed nerves to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
- Diagnostic nerve blocks help determine the specific nerve or nerves responsible for back pain by temporarily numbing them. If the pain is significantly reduced or eliminated after the injection, it suggests that the targeted nerve is indeed contributing to the pain. Then, the pain management specialist can use anesthetics or steroid injections to provide long-lasting pain relief to the patient.
- Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of radiofrequency energy to generate heat and create a lesion or thermal ablation of the nerve tissue responsible for transmitting pain signals.
Pain management specialists often collaborate closely with orthopedic surgeons to provide comprehensive care and improve the quality of life for individuals with chronic back pain.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) Physicians and Physical Therapists
PMR physicians, also known as physiatrists, are medical doctors that specialize in restoring function and managing pain related to orthopedic conditions. They use non-surgical techniques, such as physical therapy, exercise prescription, and medication management, to treat back pain and improve mobility and functionality of the patient. A physical therapist plays a complementary role to a PMR physician and applies the prescribed treatment plan created by the physiatrist through hands-on therapies and exercises to help promote pain relief and recovery.
While each pain specialist brings unique expertise to the table, there are several reasons why going straight to an orthopedic spine doctor for back pain is ultimately the best choice. Learn more below.
Expertise in the Musculoskeletal System
Orthopedic spine surgeons specialize in the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Back pain often stems from musculoskeletal issues, such as spinal conditions, herniated discs, fractures, or spinal deformities, and an orthopedic doctor is trained to treat these conditions.
An orthopedic doctor has access to advanced imaging techniques that are necessary for evaluating back pain. They use X-ray imaging and other diagnostic tools to visualize the structures in the back and accurately identify the source of back pain. The goal is to find the underlying cause of the pain and address it directly.
Orthopedic doctors are trained in surgery during their residency. Fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeons have additional years of training performing surgeries. These doctors can determine if surgery can improve your condition and if it is the best option for you. Surgery of the spine can now be performed using minimally invasive techniques, which can mean less pain, a lower risk of complications, and a faster recovery for the patient.
Continuity of Care
When consulting an orthopedic doctor, you establish a direct relationship with a back pain specialist who can provide ongoing care. Orthopedic surgeons can make a referral to a pain management specialist or physiatrist or physical therapist for your care and monitor your progress, adjust your treatment plan as needed, and offer long-term management strategies to address your back pain effectively. This continuity of care can streamline the process and facilitate better communication between you, the specialist, and other healthcare providers involved in your treatment.
Back Pain Doctor in Rochester Hills, MI
For comprehensive treatment of back pain, there is no one more qualified than a board-certified and fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon like Dr. Bradley AhlgrenofAhlgren Spine.
Dr. Ahlgren’s practice is focused on treating patients experiencing back pain and neck pain due to problems with the spine. He has over 25 years of experience treating painful conditions such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and traumatic injuries of the spine. He works with some of the best practitioners, such as pain management doctors and physical therapists, to achieve the most successful outcomes for his patients.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, call our office today at (248) 215-8080, or use our convenient online request form.