More and more individuals are looking to add or try out complementary, alternative or integrative treatments for their back and neck pain. To help understand the differences as well as the similarities between the terms, try to remember:
- If an alternative clinic which means not mainstream is combined with a conventional clinic this is mainstream medicine, then it is known as complementary or integrative health care.
- If it is used instead of or replaces conventional medical care, it is known as alternative health care.
- These terms complementary, alternative and integrative tend to get used interchangeably.
- The acronym C.A.M is sometimes used, which means Complementary Alternative Medicine.
Choosing the right practitioner for your spine problem whether osteoarthritis, chronic back pain, or whiplash is just as important as choosing a medical physician or chiropractor.
You want to find an alternative or complementary/ integrative professional who is
- Highly trained
- Experienced in treating your particular condition
- Makes you feel comfortable
- Takes time to answer all your questions
Finding a Complementary Alternative Specialist
A good place to start is to ask your primary care physician, chiropractor for a referral. Others include:
- Insurance provider
- State licensing boards
- Regulatory agencies
- Local hospital
Credentialing, licensing and certifying are terms you will find when learning about a particular complementary alternative medicine clinic or practitioner. Credentials can include the practitioner’s education, where and what they are allowed to practice. Certification in a particular field of practice like acupuncture, for example, is typically needed before the state issues a license and allows the professional to begin treating patients.
You can check your state’s mandatory licensure process for the type of complementary, alternative or integrative practitioner or clinic you are looking into. Most states require the practitioner to register their education, graduation, training, and continuing education credits. Your state agency can provide this information explaining what services the practitioner is allowed to provide such as the ability to provide dietary supplements.
Review the education and qualifications of all potential practitioners
Questions to think about when doing your research.
- Practitioner’s education?
- Did they graduate from a certified program/school?
- Did they complete advanced training?
- Are they a member of professional societies or organizations?
- Do they regularly continue their training with up to date and advanced education?
- How long have they been practicing?
- Are the treatments covered by insurance?
- Are they ready to work with your insurance provider?
- What’s the cost of treatment if not covered by insurance?
Your Appointment Plan
Treatment or therapy that the complementary, alternative or integrative practitioner/clinic provides is considered non-medical.
These practitioners need your medical history, that includes over-the-counter and prescription medications, allergies, prior treatment like surgery/spinal injections along with vitamins/supplements you take. Additional information that could be needed is the contact information of your primary care physician or the doctor who referred you. Keep your primary physician/chiropractor informed about all treatments or therapies you will be receiving.
Low Back & Neck Pain Therapy
The spine is the primary support for the body. When it breaks down, the body suffers. Regular chiropractic treatment ensures that the spinal column remains in proper alignment which, in turn, keeps the body in proper alignment. It helps with joint health as well as the health of the related muscles and ligaments.
Post Disclaimer *
The information herein on "Complementary/Alternative/Integrative Therapy for Back/Neck Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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