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Chiropractor or MD for back pain?


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WWYD for back pain? Chiropractor or family doctor? Keep in mind I have very high deductible insurance - $5,400 before anything is covered at all so if I go I want to get this taken care of for once and for all.

 

I have had back pain off and on for probably about 20 years now. Through the years, I've visited both an MD and a Chiropractor. My back pain has gotten to the point where it's bad on a daily basis and has been for months now so it's time to do something about it. I hate the thought of going to a chiropractor because from my experience I'm going to have to go forever and I absolutely hate people cracking my neck and other things... it really freaks me out. If I go to our family doctor I'm afraid she will suggest surgery - I can't be recovering for weeks and surgery really freaks me out. In fact the thought of anyone doing anything to my back makes me upset to the point of feeling physically sick to my stomach and light headed. But I need to get this fixed. I can't get down on the floor to play with my kids. I can hardly fill their workboxes because they are too close to the floor. It hurts standing and sitting and laying down.

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A good chiropractor will not have you going forever. I really hate being adjusted, too. It always makes me feel better though. The chiropractor who I saw after my wreck included massage therapy and an electric therapy to stimulate the muscles as well.

 

Have you licked into physical therapy? My chiropractor gave me exercises and stretches to do, they helped as well. If you don't want surgery or adjustment, massage and physical therapy would be another good option.

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chiro in a heartbeat.

 

some chiros will have a "visit package' where you pay an upfront cost for so many visits, which discounts the individual costs of the visits.

 

a good chiro (there are bad ones out there, just as there are bad MD's out there) will need more than one or two visits to reverse 20 years of back pain. dh had a herniated disk and it was quite a few visits - but it was much faster and more successful than visiting even an orthopod.

 

also consider yoga which has poses for strengthening the back and abdominal core which affects the back.

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Physical therapy has very good long term outcomes for back pain. If you look at the evidence, it is very favorable for PT.

 

For the long haul, PT tends to have better outcomes than surgery for many issues if you look at the studies.

 

THere are good chiros, but I would run from those who keep you coming back indefinitely or who don't give you a comprehensive program that also includes appropriate exercise for your condition. I personally would not see a chiro who relies on adjustments only.

 

eta: there are chiros who don't "crack" but they can be tougher to find. PHysical therapists trained in manual therapy can do mobilizations that are more gentle than a "crack" and that are still effective in getting things back into place. IME, a real "crack" is often unnecessary.

Edited by Momof3littles
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Chiro.

 

If your back has been out of adjustment for a long time, it will take a long time to correct it.

 

If you can find a chiro who also does physical therapy, that would be the best.

Physical therapists have a different license from chiros. Some chiros advertise that they do rehabilitation, but they cannot do "physical therapy" unless they have a dual license (they would need to be both a chiro *and* a PT, or have a PT on staff). THis has been the stuff of lawsuits in the past ;) Just clarifying because a chiro without a PT license and without a PT on staff cannot perform "physical therapy."

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Physical therapists have a different license from chiros. Some chiros advertise that they do rehabilitation, but they cannot do "physical therapy" unless they have a dual license (they would need to be both a chiro *and* a PT, or have a PT on staff). THis has been the stuff of lawsuits in the past ;) Just clarifying because a chiro without a PT license and without a PT on staff cannot perform "physical therapy."

I didn't check my chiro/PT licenses :); I just know that I went in with a totally trashed rotator cuff (no backward motion of my arm at all, little forward motion--IOW, almost frozen--excruciating pain), and I had a combination of chiropractic and some sort of therapy that was physical, and after or 7 months of 3x a week, and no surgery, I have almost 100% usage. :)

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this may or may not ring a bell with anyone -

my sil had horrendous back pain. coincidently, it started right after she got a lap band and was physically restrained from eating as much.

 

she was going to chiro's, PT's, MT, regular MD's etc. for months. She tried everything. It was so bad she coudln't do much of anything. It seemed every time I went over to her house, she was laying on her sofa - when she came to mine, she wanted to lay down.

 

for her, it was psychosomatic - she used to eat her problems but couldn't anymore - so it went into her back. when everything came to a head and pouring out - her back pain went away. Just like that.

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Chiropractor. But get recommendations and get an experienced one. There can be day and night differences between chiropractors (same with MDs, I'm sure).

 

Certain back problems require physical therapy. A good chiropractor would refer you if need be.

 

I have used an osteopath, and he could help with certain things, but without nearly the finesse (and experience) that a chiropractor has.

 

Some chiropractors take cash payments. My friend and I travel 30 min. to one who charges only $35. They don't take insurance, but will give you a receipt that you can send in if you wish. He is experienced and really good.

 

Chiropractors will want to take an xray and that can be pricey. Some DCs have specials where they waive those costs.

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Chiropractor.

 

You may to go to a different one than you previously saw. I used to see one who I knew personally. I suggested to him his practice was too far ( not really) and started going to another one who has a different approach (he uses activator technique). It felt awkard to switch, but the new chiropractor is better for me and my kids.

 

IME an MD will suggest surgery or drugs.

 

Surgery may be what you need, but for me I prefer to really work with a less invasive approach first. My chiro will give exercises and stretches to do between visits, if you are in ongoing treatment for a specific problem.

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For my chronic back pain, I started seeing results from a yoga class (with a knowledgeable instructor who helped me find modifications for many poses!) and the book Healing Back Pain Naturally.

 

I am currently also seeing a PT on a weekly basis. She gives me exercises to do, massages the area, and then gives more exercises. She seems quite confident in what she's doing and I have no doubt that in another few months I'll see drastic improvements. We also have a high deductible but my DH is having surgery so either way we'll be out the money.

 

If money is a concern for you, I'd start with the exercises in the book and some gentle yoga if you can handle it.

 

I definitely agree with other posters that surgery may not be necessary. Other forms of healing (as already discussed by others) are often more effective. All the best! Back pain can be so draining.

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You need to use a more modern chiropractor. I would never go to one that twists and cracks your neck. Today's techniques use a machine that blows a small puff of air on your neck and it somehow adjusts the spine. My DH asked the chiro exactly WHAT it does, and the chiro said something about the vibrations from the puff align the spine.

 

We used one in FL who had this machine, and it stopped my DS from bedwetting*after a few months of treatment.

 

My DH and older DS are now seeing one in SC. This technique is being used everywhere. Find a Chiro who uses this, instead of the old-school neck crack.

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I have long term chronic back pain and I see both. I have also seen a PT and a massage therapist. I have found the best combo to be message therapist to work on muscles, chiro for for alignment of bones, musces and ligaments and medical dr. for pain meds and to make sure we don't develope any nerve damage, worsing of SI joint issues or escalation of sciatic pain. I could also continue to see the PT but they basically run me through the same exercises and stretchs than the chiro does. Their own advantage is the TENS machine. I wish my chiro would get one of those.

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I have long term chronic back pain and I see both. I have also seen a PT and a massage therapist. I have found the best combo to be message therapist to work on muscles, chiro for for alignment of bones, musces and ligaments and medical dr. for pain meds and to make sure we don't develope any nerve damage, worsing of SI joint issues or escalation of sciatic pain. I could also continue to see the PT but they basically run me through the same exercises and stretchs than the chiro does. Their own advantage is the TENS machine. I wish my chiro would get one of those.

 

You can buy a TENS machine on amazon. Amazingly, it's even affordable. I don't think it has quite the power that the machines at the PT or chiropractor's have, but it has helped me.

 

My mom had a bad chiropractor years ago and hates all of them now. But she told me that her good friend had a back issue and the MD referred her to a back specialist in the city. Wouldn't you know the back specialist referred her to a chiropractor that does acupuncture. LOL Maybe Mom will come around yet.

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Chiro.

 

If your back has been out of adjustment for a long time, it will take a long time to correct it.

 

If you can find a chiro who also does physical therapy, that would be the best.

:iagree: I've been to a chiropractor for two different problems, and they had me working with their physical therapist after each adjustment, as well as heat therapy and some sort of electrical stimulation (it tickles).

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Chiropractors will want to take an xray and that can be pricey. Some DCs have specials where they waive those costs.

You want them to take the x-ray. They can see what's wrong, in addition to just feeling it. My chiro was able to show me two places in my spine with problems...one fixable and one not (that one is not a big deal, though, but may have contributed to some degree to my pain).

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After seeing chiropractors off and on for years, physical therapy is what finally proved to be a long-term fix for my back and neck problems. My back muscles were weak and my chest muscles were strong, so my ribs would pop out. Once I strengthened my back muscles, my ribs stabilized and my pain went away.

 

I do like chiro, but it isn't the solution in every case.

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After seeing chiropractors off and on for years, physical therapy is what finally proved to be a long-term fix for my back and neck problems. My back muscles were weak and my chest muscles were strong, so my ribs would pop out. Once I strengthened my back muscles, my ribs stabilized and my pain went away.

 

I do like chiro, but it isn't the solution in every case.

I think chiro alone would not be a good solution. I went to one who also had a physical therapist and an area for exercise.

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You want them to take the x-ray. They can see what's wrong, in addition to just feeling it. My chiro was able to show me two places in my spine with problems...one fixable and one not (that one is not a big deal, though, but may have contributed to some degree to my pain).

 

Yes, you want to start out with x-rays. I was just pointing out that sometimes you can get a deal... free x-rays! Many chiropractors are trying to build up their business and give customers coupons to refer others.

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MD.

 

I occasionally get horrible, debilitating neck pain. I tried multiple chiros who did the whole range of, well, everything, and it didn't do a thing. I'd be in pain for weeks before it got better on its own.

 

The last time it happened, I went to an MD, got a prescription for muscle relaxants, and was better in a couple days.

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