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What Is a Spine Management Physician?

Spine X-RayIf you are looking for a provider to treat your neck or back pain, you may have heard the term ‘spine management physician.’ It is important to understand terms like this when you are seeking care, as it directly involves the credentials of your healthcare provider.

As a spine management physician and a chiropractor in the Chesapeake area for more than 20 years, I will use this article to explain what the term ‘spine management physician’ means, and why it is important for your spinal care. First, we will take a step back and look at primary care for the spine.

What is Primary Spine Care?

Primary spine care is the main provider of your spine care needs. The primary spine care office acts as a hub to evaluate and triage your spinal care. If you need specialty spine care, your primary spine care physician can make a referral if required.

What is a Primary Spine Care Physician?

A primary spine care physician evaluates all your spinal-related conditions, making referrals to other providers as necessary. Much like a primary care provider (PCP) is the first-line resource for your medical health, a primary spine care physician is the first-line resource for your spinal health.

What is a Physician?

Multiple types of health care providers are recognized as physicians by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. These include:

  • Doctors of Medicine or Osteopathic Medicine
  • Chiropractors
  • Doctors of Dental Medicine or Dental Surgery
  • Doctors of Podiatric Medicine
  • Doctors of Optometry

All subtypes of physicians are trained in how to evaluate and manage patients’ health conditions, with the conditions varying based on the physician’s specialty. This means that physicians can operate autonomously, without the need for supervision by other health care professionals. For example, a chiropractor is a type of physician who independently specializes in back and joint care.

Further, all physicians can diagnose patients, order imaging, and triage patients as necessary. A chiropractor, for example, can diagnose mechanical spine pain, order imaging like X-rays, and triage to other spine health providers as needed.

What is a Spine Management Physician?

A spine management physician is a primary spine care physician who provides spine management. This means directly taking care of your spinal-related conditions. The only spinal conditions a spine management physician does not routinely manage include fractures, tumors, and infections.

As with other primary spine care physicians, a spine management physician can make referrals to other types of spine care providers if needed.

What Training is Needed to Become a Spine Management Physician?

Rigorous training is required to become a primary spine care physician or a spine management physician. A chiropractor must graduate as a Doctor of Chiropractic and complete post-graduate training in primary spine care to earn a qualification as a primary spine care physician.

Specifically, the chiropractor must complete a minimum of 6 post-graduate Primary Spine Care courses totaling 72 credit hours. These courses are co-credentialed through Cleveland University-Kansas City, Chiropractic and Health Sciences, and include:

  • Neurology of the Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment
  • MRI Spine Interpretation
  • Triaging the Injured and Collaborative Care
  • Neurology of Connective Tissue Pathology
  • Managing the Mechanical Spine Patient in Hospitals and Urgent Care Centers
  • Literature-Based Evidence & Academic Standards of Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment Plans for the Mechanical Spine Pain

A medical doctor must complete a spine-related residency and fellowship program after medical school to be considered a spine specialist.

Why Chiropractors Are Best Qualified to Provide Spine Management

Chiropractors are best qualified as spine management physicians as their training is overwhelmingly focused on spinal and joint care. In contrast, the broad subjects covered in medical school leave medical doctors with little time to focus their training on musculoskeletal issues or spine and joint problems.

For example, one study of Harvard Medical School students found that the medical students rated their quality of training in musculoskeletal complaints as being very poor, and that the medical students did not feel prepared to help patients. The study administered a test on musculoskeletal medicine to the Harvard Medical School students, who had a low pass rate, between 7% and 26% depending on their year in school.

Medical school graduates continue to have poor knowledge of musculoskeletal problems, with another study showing that up to 80% of medical school graduates are deficient in their knowledge of the topic.

When compared to medical school students and graduates and physical therapy students, chiropractic students have a considerably higher rate of competency than their peers.

Further, people with low back pain who seek chiropractic care are 55% less likely to end up with opioid prescriptions than those who do not seek chiropractic care.

Precision Spinal Care: Your Spine Management Physician in the Chesapeake Region

As a spine management physician, my experience and expertise in spinal biomechanics allow me to competently address your spinal condition. I am board certified in NUCCA and specialize in NUCCA technique within my practice. Additionally, I am trauma and hospital-qualified and have credentials in MRI spine interpretation, spinal biomechanical engineering and orthopedic testing through the Academy of Chiropractic. I am also a fellow in Spinal Biomechanics and Trauma which is recognized through the SUNY Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine.

I am used to integrating your medical care with other healthcare providers, including PCPs and other spine care specialists. At your first visit, I will review any medical records and imaging that you or your doctor provide. Then, I will fully assess your condition with a thorough spine exam and a discussion about your medical problems.

After your exam at the first visit, we will discuss my evaluation. If chiropractic is not the best solution for your needs, I will recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you.

If chiropractic care is the best way to meet your care goals, we will work together to develop a plan to meet your needs. I make sure to set reasonable expectations and milestones for your recovery. At regular intervals, I will reevaluate you to make sure you are meeting these goals and that chiropractic remains the best choice for you. With your permission, I will make sure to keep your PCP in the loop about any changes to your spinal health status.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all the options with you and your family.

At Precision Spinal Care we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs. If we can help, we will. Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment through our webpage.

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