Should you consult with a facet joint specialist and if so, what type of doctor is best qualified to treat you? Specialists in facet joint pain might come from several educational backgrounds, including orthopedics, neurology, rehabilitation medicine, physical therapy, geriatric medicine and chiropractic.
Specialists offer some distinct benefits when diagnosing and treating particular types of pain, but also demonstrate some weaknesses that might create disappointing outcomes for some patients. It is important to understand the pros and cons of seeing a specialist before investing yourself fully in trusting any single care provider.
This discussion provides objective commentary about consulting with a facet joint specialist. If you are not sure what type of doctor you should see regarding diagnostic evaluation and treatment of a possible facet joint pathology, this essay will help to get you on the right path towards relief.
Types of Facet Joint Specialist
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, specialists might all concentrate on diagnosing and treating various types of facet joint problems, but may come from a wide range of medical and complementary medical backgrounds. Let’s look at some of the possible credentials held by facet joint pain experts:
Orthopedists are the most common type of spinal specialists. Orthopedists study the spinal bones and joints in great detail and are well qualified to diagnose and treat facet joint issues.
Neurologists study the spinal nerves and might focus on the small nerves that can be irritated in degenerated facet joints.
Physical therapists, rehabilitation medicine doctors and sports medicine doctors may all have intimate knowledge of facet joint problems and typically offer more holistic methods of care compared to orthopedists or neurologists.
Geriatric care providers often see facet joint deterioration in their elderly patients, but are less likely to actively treat it, since they know that degeneration is universal and is rarely a source of pain, despite often being blamed for symptomatic activity in younger patients.
Chiropractors are experts in spinal care and adjust the spinal joints using manual manipulations as part of their typical health maintenance care. There is considerable controversy in the traditional medical industry about the validity of chiropractic theories in relation to facet joint pain.
Mindbody medicine doctors can accurate separate true facet joint pathology from scapegoat conditions wherein other types of doctors might have misdiagnosed the pain. Many cases of chronic facet joint pain are actually mindbody syndromes using the joint degeneration as convincing camouflage.
Facet Joint Specialist Benefits
Consulting with any type of specialist provides access to a certain depth of knowledge that can not often be equaled by a general practitioner of any healing art or science. Specialists spend much of their time working with specific conditions and types of patients in order to gain a deep understanding of the origins of pain and how it can be best treated. Therefore, when it comes to knowledge, an objective observer would have to agree that specialists offer an unrivaled degree of understanding about facet joint problems.
Specialists tend to make a name for themselves by achieving good results from treatment. This way, they become the “go-to” person for people with specific health issues. Successful treatment will garner referrals from both patients and other care providers alike.
Specialists might provide more therapeutic options for facet joint pain treatment, although this is not universally true. Some specialists have a very limited few of care and treat virtually all cases identically, despite their being causative and symptomatic differences from patient to patient.
Facet Joint Specialist Downsides
Specialists tend to focus on diagnosing and treating their focused conditions. Sometimes, this can lead to misdiagnosis or unnecessary care for facet joint conditions that may be considered atypical, but are simply not pathological. Statistics still demonstrate a high rate of misdiagnosis among specialists for all spinal issues. This helps to explain why so many people continue to suffer, despite active care.
Specialists can overcompartmentalize health issues and cause the patients to suffer systemic health degradation from treating specific forms of pain, such as facet joint pathology. The implementation of drugs, injections and surgery might help relieve facet joint pain, but can cause much more serious general health issues.
Specialists tend to be very expensive and might require special approval from health insurance plans. This extra “red tape” can lead to delays in necessary care and increased suffering for the patient.