Whether you've suffered an auto accident or have been prone to sports injuries, attempting to discover the source of your pain is a task in itself. When it comes time to locate a specialist who can help alleviate the issue, you might find yourself wading through countless possible medical offices in your area. With an array of medical news and information at your fingertips, it can be overwhelming trying to pinpoint a specialist for back and neck pain.
A significant question you may ask yourself is, should I visit a chiropractor or an orthopedist? To make that decision, consider the following factors.
Shared Qualities of Chiropractors and Orthopedists
Chiropractors and orthopedists, also known as orthopedic surgeons, are both highly educated professionals who specialize in issues of the musculoskeletal system. In layman's terms, they're trained to alleviate the pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. One would typically visit either a chiropractor or orthopedist if they were experiencing:
- Back and neck pain
- Pinched nerves
- Joint problems
- Injuries from car accidents and whiplash
- Issues with spinal discs
Both may recommend treatment such as physical therapy to aid in the healing of such ailments. However, the typical approach to these issues differs vastly among chiropractors and orthopedists.
The Orthopedic Approach
Though orthopedists treat similar areas of the body as chiropractors, their approach could not be more different. Visiting an orthopedic surgeon often means the patient could be prescribed potentially addictive painkillers, given injections into inflamed areas, or as their name suggests, offered surgery to correct the underlying issue.
Whereas chiropractors and orthopedists will both recommend physical therapy to a patient experiencing pain, an orthopedist will move forward with surgery if the pain does not lessen. Though this might seem like a quick fix to an ailment that could've been sidelining you for years, orthopedic surgery has a plethora of lasting side effects.
To strengthen or repair bones and strained ligaments and muscles, orthopedic surgeons often utilize non-biologic implants. Non-biologic implants are composed of materials that are not intended to change or shift over time, such as mixed metals or plastic.
Following surgery, it can take the body four to twelve weeks to repair and recover - time you may not have if you've already been sidelined due to chronic pain. Likewise, the non-biologic implant put in place to aid in the strengthening of the musculoskeletal system may eventually lead to limited mobility in the area in which the implant was placed.
The Chiropractic Approach
Conversely, a chiropractor will never prescribe drugs or perform surgery on a patient. Chiropractors emphasize the importance of spinal health. When the spine is misaligned, it will negatively affect the nervous system: Hence, leading to an array of health problems, such as the joint problems, back and neck pain, and scoliosis previously discussed.
However, instead of opting for an invasive procedure which could potentially set back your healing even further, a chiropractor recommends alternative medicinal practices such as adjustments and acupuncture to treat ailments at their source.
Likewise, attention to the spine can also alleviate further health issues not addressed by orthopedic surgeons, such as chronic migraines, allergies, asthma, and general tightness and stiffness experienced in the body.
The Bottom Line
When experiencing pain, you want to ensure the specialist you're visiting follows a plan of action that is not only effective but that you feel comfortable with. For broken bones and torn muscles, visit an orthopedist to repair the immediate damage surgically. If you feel as though you would benefit from a noninvasive and more natural treatment, contact a chiropractor to find which methods would have optimal results for you.
ChiroCare of Florida is waiting to get you off the sidelines and back into action again. If pain has sidelined you, call 877-216-6206 to book your free consultation today.