Most people call their regular doctor when back pain strikes. A Consumer Reports survey showed that only 34% of respondents were highly satisfied with the treatment they received from primary care physicians for back pain. This type of pain is notoriously hard to diagnose and treat; there are many potential causes, and effective treatment usually requires a number of steps that the average medical doctor (M.D.) is not trained to prescribe.
That is why it may be best to seek help from a specialist. This not only increases the likelihood of finding effective treatment but also saves you time and money. Consider visiting a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.).
Osteopathic physicians specialize in musculoskeletal disorders but have the same amount of training as M.D.s. They can perform surgery and prescribe medicine as well. The fundamental difference between these two professionals is that medical doctors are trained to treat a wide array of isolated symptoms, whereas osteopathic physicians are trained to look at the body as an interconnected system and focus on causes of pain and dysfunction.
Osteopathic physicians are trained in a diverse spread of treatment techniques, including spinal manipulation and massage. The type of spinal manipulation they practice (osteopathic manipulative treatment) often differs from chiropractic manipulation in the velocity and amplitude of thrusts applied. Their various methods of treatment fit together to tailor an effective treatment program for each patient. Given their extensive knowledge of soft tissues and the spinal structure, musculoskeletal problems are their specialty.
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