Some common set of professions and questions that have been asked on Spine-Health[/u]
Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients with health problems of the musculoskeletal system and treat the effects of those problems on the nervous system and on general health. Some chiropractors use other alternative medicines in their practices, including therapies using water, light, massage, ultrasound, electric, acupuncture, and heat. They also may apply supports such as straps, tapes, and braces to manually adjust the spine. Chiropractors counsel patients about health concepts such as nutrition, exercise, changes in lifestyle, and stress management, but chiropractors [u] do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery. Chiropractic programs require a minimum of 4,200 hours of combined classroom, laboratory, and clinical experience. All States and the District of Columbia regulate the practice of chiropractic and grant licenses to chiropractors who meet the educational and examination requirements established by the State. Chiropractors can practice only in States where they are licensed.
An orthopedic surgeon uses surgical, medical or physical means to investigate, preserve and restore functions to a patient's extremities or spine. An orthopedic surgeon restores functions through surgery, due to disease and injury, to the ligaments, tendons, joints, bones, nerves and muscles but also use physical, medical and rehabilitative methods when necessary.
All orthopedic surgeons are exposed to spine surgery during their four or five year training program. Some orthopedic residencies are at institutions where there are one or more orthopedic surgeons who specialize in spine surgery.
Neurologist vs Neurosurgeon
Both neurologists and neurosurgeons are physicians. A neurologist is more like an internist specializing in the nervous system in that he/she doesn't operate. A neurosurgeon operates.
Neurologists deal with problems like seizures, Parkinson's disease, headaches, tremor, and peripheral nerve problems like numbness and burning.
Neurosurgeons deals with problems requiring surgery, like brain tumors and pinched nerves in the spine.
Spinal Surgery - Orthopedic vs Neurosurgeon
If I need to be evaluated for a spinal problem, or, if I need spinal surgery, should I see a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon?
Though things were different many years ago, today there are a large number of both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons who specialize in spine surgery. More and more, we are referring to each other as "spine surgeons" as the distinction between us is becoming nonexistent. Both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons specializing in spine surgery are skilled in taking care of disc herniations, disc degenerations, spinal stenosis, fractures of the spine, slippage of the spine (spondylolisthesis), scoliosis, bone tumors of the spine, etc
There are a few areas where there still is a difference. Only neurosurgeons are trained during their six or seven year residency to perform procedures inside the lining of the spinal canal called the dura. Thus, spinal cord tumors, arachnoid cysts, syringomyelia, Chiari malformation, spinal cord arteriovenous malformation, diplomyelia or diastematomyelia, tethered spinal cord, spina bifida or myelomeningocele, lipomyelomeningocele, tumors at the junction of the base of the skull and upper cervical spine, nerve root tumors, and a few other diagnoses still fall under the domain of the neurosurgeon. Similarly, both pediatric and adult scoliosis and other spinal deformities are still primarily treated surgically by orthopedic spine specialists.
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences