Tips On How To Choose a Spine Doctor
When looking for a spine doctor, it is good that you take your time so that you can find the right doctor. If you have debilitating pain that your internal medicine physician or general practitioner has been unable to treat, look for a specialist. A good doctor is one that you have been referred to by your primary physician, family member, or friend.
However, health insurance plans don’t always allow you to choose the physician you were referred to, you have to choose from a list. Here are some of the things to consider when looking for the right spine doctor:
1. Board Certification
Before a physician is board certified in a specialty, they have to undergo an approved education program and evaluation that assess their medical knowledge, professionalism, judgment, and clinical and communication skills needed to do their job well. The physician will undergo the process throughout their entire career to do their job effectively and offer quality medical care.
Although there are board certifications for internal medicine and family medicine, a spine doctor's higher level of board certification particularly if he or she performs surgery is the board of orthopedic surgery, thoracic surgery, neurological surgery, physical medicine, and rehabilitation, or surgery.
A physician with this certification understands the latest treatments and technologies in back pain. Doctors at the Robotic Spine Institute, a Las Vegas, NV orthopedic spine surgeon clinic, even specialize in minimally invasive robotic surgery.
The spine doctor you choose should also have done a fellowship in spine care. Such a doctor has an extra year of experience and has a slight advantage over other physicians. The fellowship also shows that the doctor is committed to his or her field.
2. The Experience of the Doctor
Find out from the doctor you are considering about his or her experience in surgeries and treatment of the spine. The North American Spine Society recommends that people select a physician who has more than 50% of his or her cases related to working the spine.
Ensure that you prepare for your first meeting with the physician.
Tell your doctor how long you have suffered from a condition when pain occurs, and the level of pain when you have pain. Also, tell the doctor whether any treatments have offered relief before.
When you meet with your physician, ask them the following questions:
- How is the treatment done?
- What are the risks of the procedure?
- What are my alternatives to the treatment?
- How long is the recovery?
- What are the treatment’s success rates and complications?
- Can I get a second opinion?
3. Your Comfort Level with the Doctor
It is very important to ensure that you are comfortable with the doctor you want to choose. Your spine doctor’s aim is to help relieve pain. However, if you get a negative impression on the first visit, consider looking for another physician.
If you would like to find out as much as you can about a spine doctor, you can always check online reviews from Health Grades, Share Care and more as well as ask the office staff questions about the spine doctor. Some of the major things to consider when looking for a spine doctor include board certification, the experience of the doctor, and your comfort level. Considering these things will help you find a spine doctor who will help you overcome your back pain.