Dr. Scott Zack Explains Chiropractic Referral ProcessScott P. Zack — Chiropractic Referral Process
When seeking relief from neck or back pain, many patients turn to their usual primary care physician. He or she may then, according to Dr. Scott Zack, refer the patient to a qualified chiropractor for further care. This, however, says Dr. Zack, may not always be the case as he explains more about the chiropractic referral process.
“While a regular primary care doctor may refer a patient suffering from serious or persistent back or neck pain to a chiropractor, they may also opt to prescribe painkillers or a muscle relaxant instead, at least in the first instance,” reveals Dr. Zack.
Depending on the outcome or results of prescribing any such medication, the same physician may subsequently decide upon any number of options pertaining to ongoing care. “They may refer the patient to a chiropractor, continue with prescription medication, or, if any pain has subsided, opt to end treatment entirely,” explains the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan-based specialist.
Yet prescription painkillers or opting only to treat any underlying condition or conditions when a patient is in pain says Dr. Scott Zack, is largely at odds with their best interests.
The expert goes on to reveal that with up to 15 percent of all U.S. adults visiting their primary care physician for back pain each year, many are indeed referred to specialist chiropractors. “Those who are not offered this option, however,” he advises, “may find themselves at a significant disadvantage in dealing with their back, neck, or other musculoskeletal complaints.”
Instead, Dr. Zack is keen to advise those enduring pain attached to the neck, back, or musculoskeletal system to approach a chiropractor directly, especially if past primary care physician-provided treatment has proven unsuccessful. “Quite often, a patient can save themselves significant time and considerable pain by directly approaching a chiropractor, instead of waiting for a referral from a medical doctor,” he suggests.
In light of a growing shortage of primary care providers in the United States, the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care today echoes Dr. Scott Zack’s sentiments. “The consortium now advises that patients should rely more on chiropractors and other alternative healthcare providers for primary care,” he reveals.
As of 2019, all 50 U.S. states do, in fact, recognize doctors of chiropractic medicine as primary care providers. This means that those enduring back, neck, or other musculoskeletal complaints may head straight to a chiropractor for both diagnosis and treatment without the need for a formal referral from a medical doctor.
“Accordingly, if an individual is suffering from any form of musculoskeletal pain,” Dr. Zack adds, wrapping up, “it may prove pertinent to go directly to a chiropractor without hesitating and without otherwise looking for a referral from a family doctor or mainstream healthcare provider.”