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There are many types of health practitioners that care for patients with spinal conditions and each has a slightly different role.
Selection of the most appropriate type of health professional -or team of health professionals- largely depends on the patient's symptoms and the length of time the symptoms have been present. It also depends on the type of spine abnormality seen on diagnostic studies.
The different types of health professionals who treat back pain tend to have varied training and interests. While it is common to begin with a primary care provider (a medical doctor, chiropractor or doctor of osteopathy), if the patient's back pain is resistant to initial treatment, the services of a spine specialist may be necessary.
There are three broad groups of health providers who treat back pain:
Primary care providers are often the first call for patients when back pain strikes
- Primary Care Physician (family practice doctor, internist, pediatrician)
- Doctor of Osteopathy
Spine specialists have a specific area of expertise in diagnoses and/or treatments for back pain
Therapists for back pain or psychological help for chronic pain
- Physical Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- Clinical Psychologist