Health Practitioners

10 Health Practitioners Who Treat Back Pain

Besides a medical doctor, there are many different types of health practitioners who may be able to help you reduce your back pain, get relief, and even restore your life back to normal afterwards. Several of them may already be working at the Integrative Medicine clinic, if you choose this type of practice to address your back pain.

Below is a list of who to consider and a short summary of what they do.

1. Osteopathic Physicians

Osteopathic physicians receive training similar to medical doctors and similar to chiropractors  They learn about spinal manipulation but have their own way of doing it, which is different than chiropractors. Osteopaths may diagnose disease of any kind and are considered equivelant to medical doctors. Other than learning osteopathic manipulation, osteopathic physicians (DOs) have very few differences in their medical training compared to allopathic physicians (MDs). Both complete 4 years of medical school, followed by a 3-7 years of specialty training (residency).

2. Chiropractors

Chiropractors are physicians who are trained somewhat similarly to medical doctors with two exceptions:

1. They use only a natural approach to healing and never prescribe painkillers of any kind. Instead of painkillers, they use other forms of treatment that decrease pain.

2. Trained for hundreds of hours on the spine, spinal disorders; muscles, nerves, tendons and ligaments and their disorders, the chiropractor is quite knowledgeable about musculoskeletal disorders.

Chiropractors (Link to Chiropractor Page) use spinal manipulation, ultrasound therapy, laser therapy, hot and cold packs, electrical stimulation therapy, nutrition therapy, exercise therapy, physical therapy, and take x-rays of the spine as well. By law, they are allowed to diagnose medical conditions pertaining to the spine, and musculoskeletal disorders. In some states, they are considered primary care physicians, and can diagnose diabetes, metabolic syndrome, osteoporosis and other diseases.

3. Physical Therapists

Physical therapists work under the direction of a medical doctor, osteopath, or occasionally, a chiropractor. They set up exercise plans for patients with back pain to increase range of motion, strength and endurance, work on posture and the ability to do everyday activities such as walking, sitting, driving and climbing stairs. Physical therapists help in the rehabilitation of patients after injuries or long periods of inactivity, which is very important. Physical therapy is often considered a primary component of treating chronic low back pain.

Physical therapists (Link to Physical Therapy page) are not licensed to diagnose or manipulate the spine.

4. Massage Therapists

There are many different types of massage therapy that a massage therapist can choose to do. Some of these types are Swedish massage, hot stone massage, trigger point therapy, therapeutic massage and Thai massage. Each of these different types of massage may be helpful for those with back pain.

Massage therapists (Link to massage therapy page) work on their own or in conjunction with a clinic where they perform therapeutic massage for doctors who order it for their patients. They do not have a license to diagnose or to manipulate joints.

5. Cranial Sacral Therapists

For back pain, cranial sacral therapists work with a technique that is thought to moderate the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Although there is a debate about this, at least one clinician has viewed this flow as a wave.

Cranial Sacral Therapists (Link to Cranial Sacral page) work on their own instead of with other practitioners, although a few may be found in an integrative medicine clinic. They are usually talented in other forms of bodywork, and may have a good success rate with those who have back pain.

6. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an old Chinese method of healing that has been perfected over the last 4000 years. Thin needles are inserted into points along the body’s energy meridians and kept in the body for up to about 30 minutes. Acupuncture (Link to Acupuncture page) is used for over 200 different conditions, and back pain is one of them. Acupuncturists are often found in integrative medicine clinics.

7. Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis can be quite effective for back pain, especially since stress aggravates back pain and causes muscles to tighten. Hypnotherapy (Link to Hypnosis page) sessions are about an hour long and relief may be felt immediately. A hypnotherapist may sometimes be found in an integrative medicine clinic.

8. Feldenkrais Therapy

A practitioner of Feldenkrais Therapy sets up Feldenkrais lessons with patients who have back pain to teach them posture awareness, and realize which movements are contributing to the back pain they have. In these hands-on treatment sessions, many patients walk away with considerably less pain in each session.

Feldenkrais (Link to Feldenkrais page) therapists work alone or in conjunction with other practitioners. Their training is intensive – up to 800 hours – to learn how to be so effective.

9. Bowen Therapy

A Bowen therapist uses very gentle touch on different muscles of the body to reset the nervous system’s response of that muscle. The goal is to restore a muscle to the resting position.  Many people report significant improvement in their back pain from Bowen therapy. They may sometimes be found in an integrative medicine clinic.

10. Yoga

Yoga has been used in other cultures for thousands of years and can be quite effective for relief of back pain. This is because the different yoga positions or postures connect to the nervous system and send a message of relaxation throughout the body.

All these types of treatments have helped people with back pain. When you have back pain, it’s really up to you to solve it. Do you want to solve the pain by taking painkillers that can cause side effects or go through different medical procedures that can cause serious harm to the body?

If you are not willing to take these chances, then investigate some of these other methods of relieving back pain. If one does not work, try another.