What’s The Difference Between Chiropractor & A Pain Management Doctor?

  • Chiropractor - Pain Management - Spine Specialist
  • chiropractor - chronic pain
  • November 28, 2022

To deal with chronic pain, a doctor may be needed. These specialists play different roles in providing significant relief.

Who Can Help With Chronic Pain?

Over 50 million Americans deal with chronic pain, defined as any pain in the body lasting more than 12 weeks. Pain can happen almost anywhere and has several root causes, including arthritic, muscular, nerve, skeletal, post-surgical, and many others. Anyone dealing with prolonged discomfort should seek help, even if the pain results from a medical procedure. A chiropractor or pain management doctor can tackle these issues, but these experts have different skill sets. Knowing the difference can save patients time and help with faster treatment.

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Achieving alignment with a chiropractor

A chiropractor is a healthcare professional that can diagnose and treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors can be seen without a referral from a doctor. The aim of a chiropractic appointment is to adjust and realign the spine and other parts of the body to reduce chronic pain and stiffness. By adjusting the musculoskeletal system, the patient should feel relief as the body is now in proper alignment. Chiropractors use specific moves, tables, and instruments to restore the joint’s full range of motion. Along with manual manipulation, chiropractors encourage massage, physical therapy, exercise, and other naturopathic methods to relieve pain.

Benefits of chiropractic care

Since chiropractors manipulate the spine, patients with chronic pain in these areas generally receive relief. Patients with lower back pain due to degenerative discs, spinal stenosis, or osteoarthritis can also benefit. Chiropractic care extends to the neck, so patients with neck pain, neck stiffness, and constant migraines can receive help. These techniques may require multiple sessions. However, with chiropractic care, patients can manage pain and reduce reliance on potent opioids. Chiropractic care also focuses on prevention, so the specialist will provide further guidance on day-to-day living to reduce pain.

Your pain management specialist

Pain management doctors are medical professionals who specialize in reducing or eliminating pain. These doctors spend an additional 1-2 years of training focused on pain management. Pain specialists can also become board certified in specific areas. These doctors can diagnose and formulate a treatment plan for chronic pain. The goal is to find the underlying cause and implement several therapies to provide relief. Like chiropractors, pain management doctors focus on musculoskeletal issues. However, these doctors can also help with postoperative pain, nerve pain, pain from cancers, and much more.

A wide range of options

Pain management doctors focus on non-surgical methods to eliminate pain. However, unlike chiropractors, pain management doctors have far more tools available. These doctors will first use physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, yoga, and temperature therapy. Pain management doctors can also refer a patient to a chiropractor. If these options fail, pain doctors can use medication. Some pain management doctors prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, or other helpful medicines. Steroid injections, spinal cord stimulators, and radiofrequency ablation are possible treatments for persistent musculoskeletal issues. Pain management doctors often have a long-term relationship with the patient until significant relief is achieved.

Which should you choose?

Both chiropractors and pain management doctors are good options for treating pain. Chiropractic care may be the best choice for those looking for a medication-free, natural alternative. Chiropractors have the advantage of offering some immediate relief at the office. However, if chiropractic care is insufficient, a pain management doctor may be necessary for more treatment options. There is no harm in consulting both parties or using both services to get the best care available.

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