In today’s fast-paced society, an old saying still applies–‘forewarned is forearmed’. This is especially true when it involves choosing the right type of health care professional to treat your particular ailment or situation. What follows, then, is a guide of sorts to help identify the various types of specialists. Hopefully, these facts will aid you in making an informed choice.
1) Chiropractors: These are not MD’s (medical doctors), but they are highly skilled at manipulation of the spine. Studies have shown that chiropractic therapy is the single most effective route to take when in search of rapid pain relief.
2) Osteopaths: Your osteopathic specialist is a hybrid of both an MD and a chiropractor. The osteopath is an MD who possesses specialized training in skeletal manipulation, and usually will subscribe to the theory that skeletal structure damage is at the root of most if not all ailments.
3) Orthopedic surgeons: To borrow from an old ad tagline, the orthopedic surgeon is the guy you need to see if you’re among that small group of folks that ‘absolutely, positively’ need surgery right away.
4) Family practice or other ‘generalists’: If you already are under the care of your own doctor, this increases the likelihood that he will know your personal medical history. This prior knowledge will then help him to rule out more serious medical conditions, and will aid him in being able to refer you to a specialist, if that is necessary.
5) Sports medicine specialists: If you’ve suffered injuries that are sports-related, your first impulse would most likely be to seek out a sports medicine specialist. Be very cautious here, though, because sports medicine is not a certified specialty, and thus any doctor can claim that he or she has that title. Make sure you inquire about training, experience, and credentials when thinking of seeing sports medicine specialists.
6) Physical therapists: These are the people to see when you need help with basic functions, and will work with you to shore up problems with things such as bad posture. If you have already had surgical procedures performed, the physical therapist is the primary person who assists with your recovery and the eventual rehabilitation process that accompanies it.
7) Massage therapists: Let’s face facts—we all, at some point, need stress relief, and a trip to a massage therapist goes a long way toward that goal. However (as with sports medicine personnel), you should ensure that your massage therapist is indeed certified. It’s highly possible that, in the hands of an improperly trained and certified individual, whatever issues you have with the bones and muscles of your back could be made even worse.
8) Acupuncturists: It’s come to light that acupuncture can be an effective deterrent for quite a few problems, up to and including back pain. It’s a highly effective last resort when all other methods have failed, and is very safe, thus a visit to the acupuncturist is unlikely to cause you
any great bodily harm.
9) Psychiatrists/psychologists: It’s quite unclear to most of us what percentage of backaches, or stomachaches, or headaches, are the byproducts of forms of depression or anxieties. But none among us will deny that they contribute highly to both of these conditions (depression/anxiety) at some point. Even if you don’t feel that you fit in either category, a trip to your psychiatrist/psychologist is worth the effort if all else fails. Not every case of anxiety or depression is immediately apparent upon first glance, and the skills possessed by these specialists can be most helpful in determining what’s at the bottom of ‘what ails you