A herniated disc doctor is a specialist in spinal disc diagnosis and treatment. There are basically 2 types of providers who most commonly focus their practice on disc herniation therapy: chiropractors and orthopedic physicians. However, some other health professionals, such as neurologists or physical therapists, might also be very useful in creating a proper treatment program for a confirmed disc injury.
This resource section will provide an overview of the type of care a patient might expect to receive from different types of back and neck pain doctors. We will also provide some location-specific articles which detail herniated disc care in particular areas of the world.
An orthopedist or orthopedic surgeon is a spinal expert who typically provides traditional medical interventions used during herniated disc treatment. Most commonly, these therapy options begin conservatively with physical therapy, exercise, behavioral/postural modification, and pharmaceutical pain management. If these conservative measures fail, epidural injections are the next usual course of treatment. If the pain becomes chronic, herniated disc surgery is typically recommended.
However, many orthopedic doctors are embracing nonsurgical spinal decompression as a highly effective noninvasive treatment option.
Chiropractors are also a spinal specialists, but their ideology differs greatly from most traditional medical professionals. While medicine teaches to treat the condition, chiropractic embraces the philosophy of treating the entire patient, thereby facilitating an overall state of improved wellness.
It is far superior to encourage good general health, when compared to the symptom-based care offered by most orthopedic physicians. However, chiropractors typically use some of the same treatment modalities for conservative spine care. Manipulation, exercise and massage are typical chiropractic methods which might help relieve symptoms, but rarely resolve chronic disc pain.
More chiropractors are also getting into the spinal decompression field, utilizing the latest technologies, such as the DRX9000 and the VAX-D system.
Chiropractors do not, and can not, prescribe drugs for pain, nor do they typically recommend surgery. This is an added bonus in my opinion.
Having a good doctor is an important part of treating disc pathologies for many patients, but what exactly qualifies a disc care doctor as being good? To me, it comes down to being objective and honest, as well as informed and enlightened.
Doctors should be well-read concerning the structural and nonstructural causes of neck and back pain, including ischemia.
Doctors should be positive in their demeanor and not foretell doom and gloom about a potentially harmless disc condition, unless they are 100% certain that there is a certain pathological process sourcing the pain.
Doctors should not use the diagnostic conclusion of a disc abnormality as a means of enslaving the patient into a useless long-term treatment regimen.
Most of all, doctors should take the time to deal with each person's individual needs and listen to the patient. Although this seems like a given, it is the most common complaint I receive from patients with chronic pain: "My doctor does not listen to me".
As a fellow patient with decades of chronic back pain, I completely empathize with this sad situation. Make them listen or find a new doctor.
For all you doctors out there who do everything to help your patients by creating positive mental and physical states of good health, my hat is off to you. Please know that you are appreciated. For the opportunistic providers who place the value of money above all else and even create the ideal circumstances for chronic pain, you should be ashamed. If I have my way, patients will become ever more educated and will be therefore less likely to fall victim to your unethical and deceptive practices.