Are you experiencing chronic back or neck pain? This article will help you understand your treatment options.

Medical Care

What will your medical doctor do for back or neck pain? The typical medical response is prescription medication, because that’s what MD’s do. Will it help? You are not having back/neck pain because you are having an oxycodone, aspirin, Tylenol or ibuprofen deficiency. Medication may help to relieve the pain, but it doesn’t correct the cause of the pain.

Is your medical doctor a spine specialist? No. Your MD is a specialist in biochemistry, not in spinal biomechanics.

Physical Therapy

If you go to a physical therapy office for back pain, what will they do? According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapists are health care professionals who maintain, restore and improve movement.” Are physical therapists spine specialists? No. A physical therapist specializes in movement disorders and typically prescribes exercises for back and neck pain.

Therapists may also utilize ice, heat, massage, ultrasound and back supports. A physical therapist cannot take x-rays, read x-rays or order imaging studies. Physical therapists are not MD’s, and they do not prescribe medication for pain.

Pain Management

What will happen at a pain management clinic? The answer is usually stronger pain drugs and epidural spine injections. Will that help? According to medical literature, epidural shots are typically short acting and ineffective. You are not having back/neck pain because you don’t have enough cortisone injected into your spine. Permanent help from pain management clinics is unlikely because, whether medication is injected or ingested, you still have the same bad back that brought into the doctor’s office. Pain management is not necessarily better management. However, pain management is always associated with stronger drugs, serious risks, and limited long-term benefits.

Chiropractic: What Can a Chiropractor Do that is Unique in the Health Professions?

Chiropractors are specialists in the structure, function, and biomechanics of the spine. A chiropractor can accurately diagnose the cause of the condition with imaging studies of your spine. The doctor of chiropractic will then recommend an appropriate treatment plan that may include spinal adjustments, specific exercises for rehabilitation, and lifestyle changes for the prevention and management of pain.

However, the biggest difference between all other forms of medical treatment and chiropractic care is this: A chiropractor is the only health care provider that specializes in the correction of spinal misalignment with specific spinal adjustments. In a matter of a fraction of a second, a chiropractor can re-align vertebrae and restore spinal function; a process that can provide the relief of back pain for hours, days, months, and even years. Chiropractic care is a safe, conservative, and effective way to relieve back and neck pain. My advice: find a great chiropractor to be a part of your health team.

Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, AZ. For more information on chiropractic care, please go to

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