The Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Spine Specialist

If you’re considering a career as a spine specialist, you’re probably curious about what you’ll encounter on a typical day. This can vary greatly depending on which type of specialist you become. For instance, a neurosurgeon could have completely different responsibilities than an orthopedist. There is, however, at least one task that many spine specialists share, and that’s determining the root cause of a patient’s neck or back pain.

When you have a career as a spine specialist, you’ll probably follow a routine similar to the one outlined below:

  • Ask your patient a series of questions – You’ll need a little bit of information from your patient before you can begin diagnosing his or her condition. You may need to ask: What are your symptoms? How long have you been experiencing them? What is the severity of your pain and discomfort? Do any activities exacerbate or relieve your symptoms? Have you ever injured your neck or back? Do any members of your family suffer from spinal conditions? Do you have an occupation that requires a great deal of bending, twisting, or lifting? Do you smoke or abuse alcohol?
  • Perform a physical examination – Once you have the necessary information from your patient, you’ll need to examine his or her neck or back to check for any obvious signs of injury or deformity. You’ll also likely need to palpate the patient’s neck and back to determine if there are any tender, tense, inflamed, or otherwise noteworthy areas that could warrant further attention.
  • Order diagnostic tests – Next, you’ll likely order diagnostic tests. This can include X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and/or blood work. These tests should give you a definitive answer for what is causing your patient’s pain and discomfort.

If you’d like to learn more about the tasks you’ll perform as a spine specialist, reach out to a physician in your area.