If you have a spinal injury, you might wonder what type of doctor you should see for treatment. It can be confusing at first to know whether neurology in San Antonio or an orthopedic doctor will provide you with the treatment you need to heal from your spinal injury. Neurologists and orthopedic doctors treat similar spinal conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spinal fractures. However, there are differences in how a neurologist and an orthopedic doctor will approach your care.
What a Neurologist Does
A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in diseases that affect the nervous system. The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves and muscles. Neurologists are primarily associated with treating neurological conditions with symptoms like headaches, tingling sensations, numbness or loss of feeling, and even impaired mental ability. When you have a spinal injury, a neurologist will look for signs and symptoms that you have a neurological injury or disorder and how it may be affecting your ability to concentrate, any memory loss, or a sudden lack of coordination. Neurologists diagnose traumatic brain injuries and injuries to the spine and associated nerves, and may use diagnostic tools that monitor brain activity and nerve responses.
What an Orthopedic Doctor Does
An orthopedic doctor is a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy who specializes in injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Injuries to the musculoskeletal system include the bones, joints, and muscles in your neck, back, and your spine. Orthopedists are commonly associated with repairing broken bones and dislocations. They also work with sprains and strains that affect your muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues. Orthopedic doctors also work with diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis. An orthopedic doctor will use diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs to get a clear picture of your musculoskeletal system to see where the injury occurred and the damage to your bones and muscles.
Neurologist vs. Orthopedic Doctor in Treatment Styles
Both neurologists and orthopedic doctors specialize in spinal injuries and delayed injuries acquired from car accidents, but some of the main differences are in their styles and methods of treatment and care. While an orthopedic doctor may work with injuries like broken bones, a neurologist is more likely to treat spinal injuries that may require surgery. In fact, only neurologists have the skill and ability to perform surgery in specific areas of the spine like the dura. Not every patient of neurology in San Antonio will require surgery, but neurologists have specific treatment techniques and options to try before resorting to a more serious surgical option.
Pain Management with Neurologist vs. Orthopedic Doctor
When a spinal injury or condition causes you pain it is important to determine the cause of the pain. If the pain is primarily due to bones or muscles then an orthopedic doctor may be a good option. An orthopedic doctor may assess a fracture or muscle tear that is causing you pain and help develop a treatment plan that manages that pain and helps to avoid chronic pain going forward. However, if the pain involves neurological pain symptoms then a neurologist is the best option for assessing and diagnosing nerve pain. There are many injuries to the spine that can affect not only the vertebrae themselves but also the muscles and nerves nearby. When you have nerve pain that is won’t go away and is starting to affect your daily life then you should see a neurologist for a proper diagnosis and to begin treatment that will help relieve your pain. Neurologists treat nerve pain with a combination of therapies depending on your specific condition, which can include pain medications, injections, medical devices, and even surgical options if necessary.
ProCare Neurology in San Antonio
At ProCare Medical Center, you can see a neurologist in the office who can assess your spinal condition or injury and help manage your pain. The team of medical providers at ProCare includes primary care physicians, car accident injury chiropractors, and neurology in San Antonio all in one convenient location. The office houses state-of-the-art equipment so you can experience the best care from a multidisciplinary team of professionals. Whether you have a spinal injury from a car accident or are managing a spinal cord disorder, you can receive quality, comprehensive care in one San Antonio office for your convenience.