Orthopedist or Chiropractor? Which is right for you? (Both?)
In a personal injury case; especially in a car accident case; there seem to be a lot of differing opinions as to what kind of doctor you should see for treatment. Also, there are a lot of people that have strong opinions pro and con as to both specialties. Almost everyone will be giving you advice. When people hear that you had a motor vehicle accident, they will naturally try to give you advice. You should of course politely listen to your neighbor, your aunt, your co-workers, the guy behind the counter at your favorite coffee shop, etc., etc. And then, you should do a little research and form your own opinion.
The purpose of this article is to give you a little baseline information to help you determine what is best for you. First of all, a chiropractor and an orthopedist share similar professional interests. They both deal in accident cases involving trauma to the musculoskeletal system. Neither deals with urinary problems, skin disorders, cancer, or cardiac disease. They both handle injuries arising from a car accident, a slip and fall, premises liability, etc.
Orthopedists (also spelled orthopaedists) are medical doctors who have completed a four year college program, then earned a four year +/- medical school degree, and then completed an internship and a residency in a teaching hospital for their specialized training. They treat spinal injuries (cervical/neck, thoracic/mid-back, and lumbar/low back) as well as all of the other joints and bones in the body. They have sub-specialties in hand injuries, spinal injuries, leg/lower extremity injuries, hips, knees, etc. Orthopedists perform surgery and can prescribe medication. Sounds impressive? Well, it is!
However, orthopedists can only afford to spend a very short time with their patients because of the nature of their practice. Once diagnosis is performed (figuring out what your problem is), most orthopedists will prescribe medication, therapy, or surgery. Chiropractors, on the other hand, will usually spend a lot more time with the patient. They do something orthopedists don't; they will directly render physical therapies to the patient. They do not simply issue a prescription for therapy and send you on your way, hoping that the therapist does what is prescribed and does it well. The chiropractor will perform adjustments and directly render physical therapy to you themselves.
Chiropractors are also Doctors! They have a four year college degree and three to four years after that to secure their Doctoral degree in Chiropractic. Plus, they have internships and post doctoral programs as well. While the men and women who have become Chiropractors have devoted their lives and careers to treating physical injuries may not be able to prescribe medication, they instead give their patients extraordinary relief from pain by providing hands on healthcare.
If you sustained a broken bone or need a surgery for a damaged joint, then you need an Orthopedist. If you have back, shoulder, neck, or related spinal injuries, then both fields offer benefits to injured patients. In our practice, we limit ourselves to injury cases and we often are asked these types of questions. Our philosophy is to make sure that our clients receive the best of care and each case is different. Because we have been representing the injured in South Florida during four decades, we are well acquainted with many Orthopedists and Chiropractors. An experienced personal injury lawyer can guide you in these matters. We cannot practice medicine, of course, but we can make sure that you get the care and treatment that you need!