WHAT TO ASK BEFORE GETTING TREATMENTS FOR BACK PAIN
Admin · May 2, 2019
How to evaluate a back doctor
If you have serious back pain or a painful back condition, you’ll want to see a specialist. You’ll often start with a primary care doctor, but may need to see a chiropractor or spine specialist, as well. To find the right doctor for you, don’t be shy. Ask direct questions about the doctor’s qualifications and feel comfortable interviewing them. You can request referrals from someone you trust or request testimonies from previous patients for doctors who didn’t come recommended from a friend. If you’re wary, interview several doctors until you find the right one for you. You can even check online reviews to see honest opinions from previous patients.
Spine doctor vs. chiropractor
A chiropractor is one type of spine specialist. Chiropractors focus on neuromuscular disorders and treat them through manual manipulation of the spine. They may also recommend TENS unit treatment or massage from a licensed massage therapist. Chiropractors are not medical doctors and they cannot prescribe medication or do surgery. Instead they focus on pain relief through lifestyle changes and manual adjustments.
Cost and finance of procedures
Insurance will cover a portion of most treatments so before you look to financing options, get an estimate of your out of pocket costs through your insurance provider. Each spinal case—from start to finish—costs an average of $100,000, not including an insurance company’s portion.
To finance your portion, ask the hospital or doctor you go to about payment plans. You can often pay monthly installments for a procedure after it is completed. There are also several loan companies that specialize in medical loans. Don’t forget to check out what medical costs you can write-off on your taxes come April, too!
Timeline of recovery from procedures
How long it takes an individual to recover from a spinal procedure depends on the person. Procedures such as epidural injections and TENS units may have zero recovery time (although sometimes patients experience temporary side effects often lasting 24 hours or less). Laminectomy and spinal fusion surgeries are known for longer recovery times and doctors warn patients that recovery can take up to 4 months on average. For other procedures, such as fixing a herniated disc, recovery typically takes six weeks.
These recovery times vary based on the individual so it’s always important to ask your doctor directly how long your recovery is expected to take.