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So You Want To Be A Spine Specialist?






     Like many would-be spine specialists, you're probably fascinated by the central nervous system. You also likely enjoy helping people and want to be in a position where you can make a difference in the world. If you possess these traits, then you have many of the interests needed to be a successful spine specialist. Once you've completed the necessary education and received the required training, there are a number of capacities in which you could work as a spine specialist. This article will discuss the day-to-day activities of a diagnosing physician.

Evaluating a Patient's Symptoms

Most patients initially visit a spine specialist because they're experiencing pain or discomfort in the neck or back. But did you know that spinal conditions can cause symptoms to appear in other parts of the body, too? The nerves that branch from the spinal cord travel throughout the body and are responsible for transmitting sensory and motor signals from the brain to various parts of the body. When a nerve becomes compressed because of a spinal condition, symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness can travel along the length of that nerve. For this reason, a spine specialist not only must evaluate a patient's neck and back, but must also inquire about pain and discomfort throughout the body. It is the diagnosing physician's job to determine, for instance, whether a patient is experiencing numbness in the hands and weakness in the forearms because of a spinal condition or because of some other medical issue.

Ordering Diagnostic Tests

Once you've evaluated your patient's symptoms, you may need to order diagnostic tests to make an accurate diagnosis. MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays are common diagnostic imaging tests that can be used to take a look inside the body. These tests can reveal whether a patient has fractured a vertebra, developed spinal arthritis in the facet joints, sustained a herniated disc, or has merely sprained a ligament or strained a muscle.

Prescribing a Treatment Regimen

Spine specialists almost always treat a patient's symptoms at least initially with a regimen of conservative, nonsurgical treatments. This could include over-the-counter or prescription medication, physical therapy, limited bed rest, and/or lifestyle modifications such as losing weight or quitting smoking. You'll need to evaluate your patient's progress for several weeks or months to determine if he or she is finding any relief from their neck or back pain. You may need to adjust the patient's treatment regimen in the event that a particular therapy is proving ineffective or seems to be exacerbating the patient's discomfort.

Recommending Surgery

If nonsurgical treatments prove ineffective, your patient may require an operation to decompress the affected spinal nerve(s). Many spine specialists are orthopedic surgeons who can perform patients' operations themselves. However, some physicians prefer to focus their attention on diagnostics. If this is the route you choose to take, then you would need to refer your patient to an orthopedic surgeon. Once your patient undergoes the operation, you might resume treating the patient and overseeing his or her recovery from surgery.

Taylor Thomas is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Thomas is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to healthcare careers.

Taylor Thomas is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications and is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including healthcare careers. https://careers-lsi.icims.com/jobs/intro?hashed=0




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Taylor Thomas is an experienced writer who has written for a number of notable publications. As a lifestyle expert, Mr. Thomas is able to offer advice and insight on a multitude of topics, including those pertaining to healthcare careers.


Posted on 2013-07-15, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,


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