Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
If you are dealing with new symptoms or worsening pain that doesn’t resolve with home-based treatments, your next step likely involves setting up an appointment with your primary care physician. Your primary care specialist has an incredible breadth of knowledge in a variety of conditions, but if you need some advanced care that they can’t provide, they’ll refer you to a specialist. Many people assume that this means that a surgical procedure is likely in the cards.
Does a referral to a spine specialist mean that back surgery is in your future? We take a closer look at what most people can expect if they are referred to a spine specialist from their primary care provider.
Why Was I Given A Spine Specialist Referral?
It is possible that your primary care physician believes that a corrective procedure may be in your future when they refer you to a spine specialist, but that’s certainly not always the case. The spine is an incredibly complex system, and oftentimes the patient is better served by connecting with a specialist who has an incredible depth of knowledge about a specific subject. Your primary care physician can treat all sorts of conditions, like strep throat or a severe ankle sprain, while a back specialist simply focuses on all things spine.
But what are some of the specific reasons why a person would be referred to a spine specialist? Some common reasons include:
- Access to different imaging or diagnostic techniques.
- Having a professional who specializes in specific conditions perform the diagnosis.
- Having complex spinal condition.
- Familiarity with a specific spinal condition.
- Inability to determine a specific diagnosis.
- Severe trauma.
- High likelihood that surgery is in the future.
So while there are a number of different reasons why you may end up being referred to a specialist, the most common reason really boils down to ensuring that the patient and provider can get to the bottom of the issue and develop the best plan for moving forward. If there are questions as to the severity of a condition, or a primary care physician feels that a spinal expert would be able to provide a better level of care for the patient, odds are they will make a referral. This does not mean that surgery is a guarantee, but it does ensure that your spinal issue will be handled by someone who spent years of their life specifically training to understand how to best diagnose and treat your spinal condition.
Some people are anxious when they find out that they are being referred to a spine specialist, but you shouldn’t be. A referral just means that you are being matched with the best team of medical professionals for your situation, which should only improve your outcome. If surgery is in your future, that same spine specialist can typically perform the procedure, meaning you won’t have to bounce from one specialist to another. They’ll be with you every step of the way to help you overcome your spinal issue.
If you’ve been referred to a spine specialist, we hope that you’ll consider reaching out to Dr. Sinicropi for that evaluation and care. Thousands of satisfied patients swear by his care, and we’d be happy to help you in the event you need more help than your primary care physician can provide. For more information, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Sinicropi, give his team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute a call today at (651) 430-3800.