10 Back Pain Specialists

Back and spine pain is common. In fact, it’s so common that many types of healthcare providers diagnose and treat it.

This makes choosing a supplier difficult. So it helps to know what each one does and what they have to offer. Your primary care provider can also help.

This article will introduce you to the expertise of 10 medical professionals who treat back pain and how they can help you.

Family and General Practitioners

If you have new neck or back pain, start with your regular doctor. This is usually a family or general practitioner (GP) or primary care provider (PCP).

They may:

  • Order Diagnostic Tests
  • prescribe some painkillers
  • give you some exercises
  • may send you to a physical therapist
  • may refer you to a specialist

But research suggests GPs may be slow to adopt new back treatments. So do your own research on possible treatment options. And ask a lot of questions during the date.

Also, you can request a referral to a specialist at any time.

What your primary care healthcare provider can do


Pediatricians diagnose and treat children. They cover a wide range of issues, including back pain and injuries.

Like a GP or PCP, your child’s pediatrician is the place to start. If your child needs a specialist, they may refer you. Or you can ask for a referral.

What is a pediatrician?

Emergency Room Healthcare Providers

If you have severe neck or back trauma, you should go to the emergency room. Trauma may include car accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds.

Remember not to move someone who may have a spinal injury. If you are the injured person, stay still and tell others not to move you.

Also, if you lose control of your bowel or bladder due to back pain, or if your legs are gradually weakening, go to the emergency room. These are symptoms of an emergency called cauda equina syndrome.

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When you have back or neck pain, your family doctor, pediatrician, and emergency room are where you start. In each case, they may refer you to a specialist if a serious problem is found or suspected.


Orthopedist and orthopedics Surgeons treat the musculoskeletal system. include:

  • bone
  • joint
  • muscle
  • cartilage
  • connective tissue

Common orthopedic problems include:

  • cracked disc
  • Scoliosis
  • tendonitis
  • nerve impingement
  • Bursitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sports Injury
  • repetitive stress injury

Orthopedics overlaps with other specialties. For example, orthopedists and rheumatologists both treat arthritis.

Orthopedic and neurosurgeons do some of the same procedures. These include spinal fusion and discectomy.

What is an orthopedic surgeon?


Rheumatologists treat autoimmune, inflammatory, and musculoskeletal disorders. n These include many forms of arthritis, lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Your PCP may send you to a rheumatologist if you have:

  • Sacroiliitis: Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints at the base of the spine.
  • Axial spondylopathy: a painful form of arthritis of the spine
  • Axial spondylopathy: arthritis of the spine that causes bones to fuse together

A rheumatologist can also treat spinal stenosis (advanced osteoarthritis). They overlap with orthopaedic surgeons.

When to see a rheumatologist


Neurologists specialize in the study of the nervous system. They treat diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. include:

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

If your back or neck pain is chronic, you may see a neurologist. They are experts in the origin of pain.

Neurologists do not perform spine surgery. They can be a physician (MD) or other licensed practitioner.

What is a neurologist?


Neurosurgeons specialize in neurological surgery. This includes the brain, spine and spinal cord.

Neurosurgeons do not provide holistic treatment for back pain. You usually only see them after you’ve exhausted all other options.

When to see a neurosurgeon


Orthopedists, rheumatologists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons are experts in treating different types of back pain. Both orthopedists and rheumatologists deal with the musculoskeletal system. Neurologists and neurosurgeons treat the spine, nerves and brain.


Osteopaths work in a holistic, patient-centered manner. They take the same courses as MDs, plus up to 500 hours of courses focused on the musculoskeletal system.

They also have the same exams and licenses as MDs. Many osteopaths are primary care providers.

If you go to the hospital with back pain, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • correct posture
  • stretch
  • massage
  • Spinal manipulation (popping your back)

Their goal is to increase your mobility and relieve pain and muscle tension.

Learn about osteopathy

physical therapist

Physical therapists are also holistic providers. They focus on bodily functions. Think of them as PCPs and physical therapists.

This subspecialty provides rehabilitation services for a variety of illnesses and injuries. These include:

  • stroke
  • low back pain
  • Sports Injury

Many times, a physical therapist will coordinate a team of specialists. This helps develop a treatment plan for all of your medical needs.

Should you see a physical doctor?


Chiropractic is a hands-on alternative medicine discipline. Its goal is to restore function by aligning the spine. Chiropractors do this through spinal manipulations, also known as adjustments.

The purpose of most chiropractic adjustments is to relax and increase flexibility. If your muscles are stiff and you’ve lost range of motion, chiropractic therapy may help.

However, if you do this it may do more harm than good:

  • is loose
  • have connective tissue problems
  • have osteoporosis (thinning of the bones)


Osteopaths, physical therapists, and chiropractors are alternative physicians who can help relieve some back pain. Their goal is to improve overall physical function.


You have many options for treating back pain. GPs, paediatricians and emergency room staff are often the first line of defence. If they cannot diagnose or treat you properly, they may send you to a specialist.

Specialists include orthopedists, rheumatologists and neurologists/neurosurgeons. They deal with chronic conditions like arthritis or temporary problems like herniated discs.

Supplementary and alternative providers may treat you individually or as part of a care team. They look at the whole person and work toward better overall functioning.

VigorTip words

Back pain is not something you should live with. Talk to your healthcare provider. If they are unable to identify or resolve the problem, consult a specialist. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or ask for a referral.

Once you have a diagnosis, you and the provider can develop a treatment plan. It may include multiple practitioners with different specialties.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When should you see a healthcare provider for back pain and when should you see a chiropractor?

    Generally, you should look at your primary provider first. They can help you decide if a chiropractor is right for you.

    Chiropractic is generally not recommended for back pain caused by osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or spinal abnormalities.

    A chiropractor may help with lumbar (lower back) pain, sciatica, and old sports injuries.

  • What healthcare provider should I go to for low back pain?

    If you’re sure you don’t have a disc problem and want to try conservative treatment first, you can start with a chiropractor. Otherwise, check with your primary provider. They may send you to a specialist based on your symptoms.

  • What kind of healthcare provider would give an epidural for back pain?

    Many health care providers can give you epidural steroid injections (ESI). include:

    • Pain Management Specialist
    • physical therapist
    • interventional radiologist
    • anesthetist
    • Orthopedist
    • neurosurgeon
    • neurologist

What is a chiropractor?