Allow me to explain. When you think of your primary care provider (PCP) you don't think of neurosurgery. What you know is that your PCP can handle most things you walk in with, and that they can recognize situations where a referral is necessary. I submit that chiropractors who follow the evidence based non surgical spine specialist model should be the person you go to first with spine pain/musculoskeletal complaints. We can diagnose most of the conditions that walk in, and we know when it's time to make the referral as well.
Chiropractors often work together with other doctors for the benefit of the patient. Common examples are pain management doctors for injections. Injections can often help the acute patient deal with their pain enough to handle the treatment prescribed by the chiropractor. In the the case of disc pain, for instance, flexion/distraction manipulation is considered one of the treatments of choice to decompress the bulging, painful disc, but sometimes the patient is in too much pain to even lie on the table, let alone handle the treatment. To which I say--steroids to the rescue.
Chiropractors are also well trained in differential diagnosis. Recognizing that your back pain is actually referred pain from your kidneys is something we should pick up on. To prove my differential diagnosis skills I can tell you that I've figured out the condition in two different episodes of House: Lyme disease, and myasthenia gravis. They were triumphant moments, and I'm still basking in the glory. But I think you get my point.
Low back pain and neck pain are often mechanical problems that need a mechanical solution. Chiropractic school is non stop, hands on, physical examination and manipulation training. Some of us go into the world of soft tissue treatments as well, which broadens our scope of practice to extremity pain of the non surgical nature. A torn tendon is out of my pay grade, but scar tissues that inhibit normal movement patterns are my turf.
One final area of expertise your chiropractor should have is a knowledge of nutrition and supplementation. This could possibly be the skill set of your chiropractor that can help you the most with your general welfare, spine pain or not. There are several diet related causes of low back pain that can also cause all sorts of other nasty conditions. Anyone who knows me knows not to get me started about diet and nutrition unless they really want to get me going. What can I say? I'm passionate.
If you're living with back pain, neck pain, or the headaches that often accompany neck pain, come see your favorite Houston chiropractor and get the help you need. I really enjoy my work--it's almost too fun to call this a job, and I look forward to meeting and serving you.