When to See a Spine Specialist or General Practitioner

Indications You Should See a Spine Specialist or General Practitioner in los Angeles, CA

Most of the time, the first person you’ll see about your back pain will be your primary care physician. These general practitioners have knowledge of many common medical conditions. Since back pain is the reason for most doctor visits in the United States, they’re usually adept at recognizing symptoms that indicate a certain problem. Even so, there are times when it’s best to seek input from a Beverly Hills spine specialist instead.

What’s the Nature of Your Back Pain?

Your regular doctor should be able to recommend appropriate treatments or medications for back or neck pain related to muscle strain or a muscle spasm. Spine specialists tend to have the knowledge and resources necessary to identify or treat:

  • Pain related to specific conditions like spinal stenosis, sciatica, or scoliosis
  • Pain related to a herniated or slipped disc
  • Pain that’s reached a point where it’s causing chronic and frequent discomfort

Are Your Current Treatments Working?

You may experience relief from some of the medications or treatments prescribed or recommended by your regular doctor. However, if those treatments are no longer effective, it may be time to see a spine specialist. These specialists have more experience with spine conditions since they consistently treat patients with all types of spine-related issues. As a result, spine specialists are often able to:

  • Perform more detailed diagnostic tests such as MRIs, CT scans, and nerve function tests
  • Recommend treatment options you may not have considered yet
  • Determine if there are other factors contributing to your back/neck pain

Do You Have Complex and Multiple Symptoms?

It’s possible your regular doctor may have an idea of what’s causing your back pain, but he or she may not be able to connect the dots if you’re experiencing multiple and complex symptoms, as is often the case when some type of nerve compression is involved. You may also have spine pain stemming from multiple sources, such as herniated discs located in two different sections of your back. A spine specialist is more likely to:

  • See patterns in your symptoms that likely indicate a specific condition
  • Know what tests to perform to confirm or rule out possible conditions or pain sources
  • Consider often overlooked pain sources like the sacroiliac joint

Are You Likely to Need More Individualized Care?

General practitioners see a lot of patients with different complaints every day, and many of them are excellent at dividing their time. Still, they may not have the time to thoroughly answer your questions or help you develop a better understanding of your condition. A spine specialist can usually:

  • Provide detailed answers to your questions
  • Direct you to related specialists, some of whom may be part of the staff at their facility
  • Fully explain your available treatment options

Spine care is a collaborative effort. General practitioners often recommend patients visit a board-certified spine specialist in Beverly Hills if they want to confirm a suspected source of back pain. If you do need specialized care, input from your regular doctor can help the specialist understand what you’ve already tried, your history with back pain, and if there are underlying health issues involved that may affect treatment recommendations.

If you’re looking for an expert spine specialist in Beverly Hills, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We specialize in various types of minimally invasive spinal surgery. Beverly Hills patients who are looking for an effective solution to alleviating their pain should call 310-828-7757 today.