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Should I See a Chiropractor or a Medical Doctor for my Back Pain?


After a long day in the yard pulling weeds, riding the lawnmower, and performing other twisting and bending movements, you notice stiffness in your low back. You think nothing of it until you wake up the following day and bend over to tie your shoe when suddenly you feel a sharp shooting pain in your low back. You wait a couple of days, wishfully thinking the discomfort will dissolve on its own, but to your frustration, it worsens and radiates into your legs. You decide to see a professional, but who should you see? A Medical Doctor? A Chiropractor?

When You See a Chiropractor

Woman-Gets-Low Back-Adjustment-CChiropractic-Eureka

1. You will receive a thorough physical exam and a health history assessment. We will rule out any "red flags" indicating a more severe condition requiring a referral to another healthcare professional. The goal is to identify your condition's root cause and pain source.

2. With red flags eliminated, we will conduct a further evaluation to determine if the sciatica-like symptoms are treatable within our office. Patients suited to conservative care options will receive treatment information and a specialized plan for their condition.

3. In addition to prescribed exercises, you may receive treatments such as adjustments, electrical stimulation, and soft tissue therapy.

4. The treatment plan is customized for each patient, depending on the severity of the condition, individual's health, age, and other wellness considerations.

5. When the injury is stable, we will give you rehab exercises to prevent future relapses.

6. Should you not progress as expected (approx. 80-85% of Comprehensive Chiropractic patients respond positively), we will refer you to our trusted list of MDs, Sports Medicine, Pain Management, Orthopedics, DO's, and Neurosurgeons. They are conservative-minded by nature and co-manage cases with us very well.

If You See a Medical Doctor


1. The medical Doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your current condition. Your first visit may include X-Rays.

2. With the exam concluded, you will likely receive a prescription for some combination of steroids, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxers.

3. You'll be requested to follow up with your MD, and if you are not experiencing full recovery, you may receive a prescription for physical therapy.

4. If physical therapy fails to correct your back pain/sciatica, you'll usually receive an order for an MRI and a referral to an orthopedist.

The Supermarket Approach


Unfortunately, a patient dealing with back pain can fall into the "Supermarket Approach," with many options available. Medication, surgery, chiropractic, yoga, massage, acupuncture, weightlifting, pilates, injections, physical therapy, etc., each have benefits, and it can be challenging knowing which option to choose. This is one of the main reasons that Comprehensive Chiropractic has yoga, massage, pilates, and personal training available outside of our main chiropractic clinic to go along with our referral sources. We can evaluate a patient and recommend a tailored approach specific to the patient's needs and personal goals. Once a patient steps into our office, we believe that our role is to help them live a pain-free, fully functioning, high-quality life.

A New Healthcare Approach

Healthcare should operate with conservative, less financially draining options first and slowly progress to more invasive choices such as medications, injections, and surgery. There is a time and place for every procedure. If your condition requires more aggressive mitigation methods, we will be the first ones to tell you and guide you towards the proper healthcare professional. By taking this approach, we have seen our patients experience a higher quality of life, quicker resolution to their issues, and have reduced the financial cost associated with their condition. There is no reason you need to keep living with your back pain and sciatica. Find out how to fix our pain and learn how to prevent it from coming back in the future.


About the Author:

Dr. Caleb Gorman graduated from Logan University in Chesterfield, Missouri in 2020. He has a passion for functional movement, rehabilitation, and sports performance. Dr. Gorman has extensive knowledge of the human musculoskeletal system as he served as an anatomy and neuroanatomy tutor at Logan University’s Cadaver Lab for over two years. Caleb’s treatment and assessment certifications include Active Release Technique (ART), Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), and Trigger Point Dry Needling.

Comprehensive Chiropractic & Sports Performance is your Complete Wellness Center. St. Louis turns to us for chronic pain relief, injury rehabilitation, and treatment for many other conditions. We believe that our health is our greatest asset. Any effort we make towards taking care of ourselves is valuable and necessary.

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