7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Back Pain Doctor

Every year in the United States, approximately 83 million days of work are lost due to back pain.

Do you struggle with chronic back pain? Are you ready to get rid of your symptoms and improve your quality of life by working with a back pain doctor?

There are lots of doctors who specialize in identifying sources of back pain and helping their patients to feel better. Not all of them are created equal, though. Read on for seven factors to consider in your search that will help you find the right doctor for your needs. 

1. Recommendations and Referrals

A lot of people put off going to visit a back pain doctor because they’re unsure of where to begin when it comes to looking for one. It’s understandable if you’re feeling daunted at first, but don’t let that stop you from seeking help.

A good place to start is by scheduling an appointment with or hopping on the phone to talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician might be able to recommend or refer you to a back pain specialist in your area. They can also provide some insight into what kind of treatment you should look for based on your symptoms or diagnosis. 

2. Credentials

Once you have a shortlist of potential doctors with whom you might want to work, do a little research to learn more about them. Find out where they went to school, how long they’ve been practicing, and what their credentials are. This information will help you decide whether or not they’re a credible source and a good fit for you and your specific needs.

You might also want to do some extra digging to ensure their license is up to date and they don’t have any complaints against them with your state’s medical board. If you do find any evidence of complaints, it’s a good idea to take that as a red flag and try to arrange to work with someone else.

3. Specialization

Make sure you’re working with a doctor who specializes in back pain, first of all. From here, you might want to look for someone who specializes in certain types of back pain, such as chronic pain, lower back pain, nerve pain, etc. The more specialized they are, the more resources they’ll likely have at their disposal to help you manage your symptoms and feel your best. 

4. Services Offered

Consider, too, whether you want to work with a doctor who utilizes certain pain management modalities. For example, do you want to work with a naturopathic doctor who uses holistic remedies to treat pain? Do you want to work with a chiropractor who uses techniques like spinal manipulation and spinal decompression therapy?

When you’re considering different doctors, take a look at the list of services they offer. Any doctor worth visiting will make it clear what they can and can’t do for you upfront. If you don’t see any services listed on their website, call their office to find out what kind of treatment approach they use so you can be prepared when you go in for your first appointment.

5. References and Reviews

Before your appointment, if you want to learn a little more about what you can expect from your doctor, ask them for references. They should have references readily available and shouldn’t be hesitant about sharing them with you.

Once you get the names and contact information for these people, follow through and reach out to them. Ask them what their experience was like working with this particular doctor. Find out, too, whether or not they would be willing to work with them again in the future. 

In addition to asking for references, you can also read online reviews from past patients. These days, most doctors have ratings and reviews available on sites like Google and Yelp. These reviews can provide more information and help you determine whether or not a particular doctor is a good fit for you.

6. Insurance Coverage

Of course, you also need to think about logistics like your potential doctor’s license and insurance coverage. Do they accept your specific insurance plan?

Call ahead and find out if they do, or reach out to your insurance provider to see what is and isn’t covered in your policy. If you do this work now, you won’t have to worry about getting turned away or having a massive bill sent to your house a few weeks after your appointment. 

7. Safety and Accessibility

Finally, think about your doctor’s accessibility options. Right now, a lot of people are hesitant to go to the doctor’s office for anything that’s not emergent because they’re worried about potentially catching COVID-19. If you’re in this position but still want to seek care, find out whether or not your doctor offers any kind of telehealth options.

It can be hard to diagnose conditions virtually, so if you do need to go to the office in person, ask what kind of rules they have in place to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Do they require everyone to wear masks, for example? Do they limit the number of people who are allowed in the building at one time?

It can feel a little awkward to ask these questions. Remember, though, that it’s your right to protect yourself and know what you’re getting into before you venture out to meet with this doctor. 

Find a Great Back Pain Doctor Today

Are you ready to say goodbye to your back pain experience? If so, keep the information outlined above in mind as you search for a back pain doctor and work to find a specialist who can help you get control of your condition.

If you want to learn more about managing back pain or improving other health issues, check out some of the other resources that are available on our site. We have a full array of health and wellness-related articles that can provide additional information and insights.