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Do I need a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon for back problems?

I am a 39 year old male and I have back problems from being overweight. Do I need a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon for back problems?

11 Answers

Either, as long as they have good experience in spinal surgery. However, most back problems are managed best with conservative therapies: increasing activity, losing weight (hard as it is), physiotherapy for guidance. Your primary care doctor should be able to guide initial management. It is also important to have other causes of back pain excluded. Surgery should be the last resort, especially if you only have back pain and no leg pain.
If you have already seen all of the specialists that treat back problems without surgery, and nothing has worked so far, and surgery is now your only option remaining, you need to see a spine surgeon. It does not matter whether it is a neurosurgeon, as all neurosurgeons operate on the spine, or an orthopedic surgeon that did additional training in spine surgery.
Spine orthopedic surgeons and spinal neurosurgeons both can do spinal surgeries.
Both specialties are experts in spinal surgery.
There is overlap between the two, but as an esteemed colleague of mine once said, if there is going to be a problem, do you want someone more cautious with the nerves or the bones? I will admit my bias as a neurosurgeon and you will find competence in spine doctors in both fields. Always get a second opinion!
You need a well trained competent surgeon to assist you with your spine issues - there are both Neurosurgeons and Orthopaedic surgeons that specialize in management of spine conditions that can assist you.
Not necessarily. Identifying excess weight is a good first start. Begin by changing your behaviors which might contribute to the back pain. Make a plan with your Primary care physician to reduce your weight and if the pain is significant ask for screening for red flags before your begin a treatment plan. Surgeons are generally only needed for severe cases of those involving certain red flags. But you're on the right track be identifying potential causes.
If you have back problems from being overweight avoid spine surgery like the plague. Losing weight can be difficult if you need to lose a lot.... bariatric surgery is the only thing I would consider.
If you are having back problems at your age and the issue is being overweight, weight loss, aggressive PT, and pain management are tried and true. Both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons have expertise in the spine. But remember, neurosurgeons are used to dealing with delicate tissue like brain and spinal cord. Orthopedic surgeons deal mostly with bone and joints. My personal preference would be a neurosurgeon.
When it comes to your spine with all its nerves, always trust a Neurosurgeon. A Neurosurgeon has the most knowledge in this area.
Either can work