Orthopedic specialists diagnose and treat conditions and injuries associated with muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. This includes the spine. Back and spine specialists provide a variety of treatment options for back symptoms, including medications, injections, physical therapy, exercises, and surgery. If you have ongoing pain or other symptoms related to your back, it is time to see a specialist.
What Is a Back and Spine Specialist?
These are health professionals who focus their expertise on conditions and injuries of the spine and back. Orthopedists are physicians who have special training in the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissue.
Orthopedists often specialize in certain areas of the body. Back and spine orthopedic specialists provide diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and preventative services for patients with back injuries or diseases. They often begin with more conservative, non-surgical treatments and use surgery when necessary.
Orthopedic back specialists have extensive training. They have completed medical school, at least five years in an orthopedic residency, and an additional year or more in a subspecialty fellowship.
When Do I Need a Back and Spine Orthopedist?
Spine and back specialists are true experts in this area of the body and help patients with any symptoms that arise there. You might want to see your primary care physician first, but if you experience any of the following symptoms, you may ultimately need a specialist:
- Chronic back pain. Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints, with eight out of ten people dealing with it at some point in their lives. If it lasts more than three months, the pain is considered chronic. Specialists get to the root of the pain and offer both surgical and non-surgical solutions.
- Limited mobility. If back pain and other symptoms limit your activity level, it is time to see a specialist. They can find the underlying problem and suggest solutions that will get you back to moving more.
- Acute back pain. Sudden onset back pain usually indicates an injury, whether you can pinpoint the cause or not. See a specialist if it does not resolve within a few days. If the pain is severe, you might need urgent care.
- Leg or arm symptoms. Problems in the back can radiate down the limbs causing pain, tingling, and numbness in the legs, feet, arms, or hands. This indicates a nerve issue that will not get better without treatment.