Pain Management Physicians & Orthopedic Surgeons

in General Pain Management Information / September 22nd, 2017

Many patients are confused about the difference between pain management physician and orthopedic surgeons. If you’ve been experiencing pain in your spine, neck, or elsewhere, you may be wondering which type of doctor to consult with first. In fact, this is a quite common dilemma.

The first thing to know is that there is certainly some overlap between these two professions. At The Spine & Sports Health Center, our doctors are pain management physicians, yet we often receive referrals from orthopedic surgeons, and occasionally, we’ll also refer our patients to them if the situation warrants it.

Bottom line is that a pain management physician should be your first consultation before an orthopedic surgeon because pain management physicians treat patients non-surgically.

Pain Management Physicians

The major difference between a pain management physician and an orthopedic surgeon is that a pain management physician is trained to treat all types of pain, in a non-surgical manner.

In this way, if you have general pain somewhere on your body — for example in your back, neck, hips, or knees — a pain management physician may be able to treat your pain, no matter where you are experiencing it. Additionally, they should also be able to target exactly where the pain is coming from (sometimes pain in one area of the body is actually derived from another area of the body), and they may be able to help treat the source problem that’s causing the pain, so that it doesn’t come back.

The pain management physicians at The Spine & Sports Health Center work with our other trained medical specialists to develop treatment plans using the below types of treatments:

Pain management injections

In some cases, nerve damage is the cause of pain — especially in certain joints and in the neck and spine. In this case, pain management injections or nerve block injections are used to numb the area around a nerve and offer pain relief. In addition, cortisone injections can also be used to relieve inflammation and pain in certain areas.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is the go-to solution for many pain problems. Within the realm of physical therapy, there are various sub-treatments. These include exercise, stretching, and heat and cold therapies. Physical therapy is one of the best forms of non-surgical treatment for pain.


An ancient form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture is still used today to treat various type of pain, discomfort, and inflammation in the body. In an acupuncture session, tiny, sterile pins are inserted into the surface of the skin at various key points to achieve pain relief and to reduce inflammation.

Chiropractic & various other treatments

Orthopedic Surgeons

Orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, perform surgery, while the major goal of most pain management physicians and physical therapists is to treat pain _without surgery.  _Both physicians treat conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, but orthopedic surgeons typically begin working with a patient if and when non-surgical methods are not effective.

In select situations, surgery may be necessary to treat a source problem and ultimately alleviate long-term pain and discomfort. In these cases, patients will naturally need to see an orthopedic surgeon for care.

At The Spine & Sports Health Center, we do our best to treat our patients’ pain without surgery. When surgery is necessary, we refer patients to orthopedic surgeons who we trust.

For More Information Contact The Spine & Sports Health Center

At The Spine & Sports Health Center, we treat all types of spine and joint pain, injuries, and ailments, and we consider ourselves the “first stop” for patients who need help for neck or back pain.

Once you make an initial consultation appointment with us, our physicians will listen to your concerns and establish a medical history. This will help us accurately evaluate and diagnose your immediate ailments and possible causes. From there, your physician will then design a personalized treatment plan that will consist of various forms of care — from chiropractic and physical therapy, to acupuncture and other assorted types of pain management. Avoiding surgery wherever possible is our primary concern, which is why we always use the most conservative treatment options first.

To make an initial consultation appointment at The Spine & Sports Health Center today, give us a call at (201) 535-2474 or fill out a contact form here .

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