A very normal scenario when people develop aches and pains is that they see their general practitioner for help. The General Practitioner (GP) toolbox allows for sick leave, pain relieving medication, and referrals such as psychologist consultations, and pain management courses to help you live with your pain (http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Pain/Pages/Longtermpain.aspx), as well as referrals to imaging modalities.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. It shows the existence of a diverse GP evidence-based tool box designed to provide the best option for the patient in a specific scenario. The only arguable problem is the tendency of long waiting lists, increasing the risk of an acute pain process becoming chronic.
A patient with this same type of complaint who visits a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) receives a very similar management. The DC toolbox allows for all normal physical examinations e.g. blood pressure, lung sounds, neurological tests, identification of area and types of structures involved, as well as prescribing sick leave, and referral to special tests like imaging when these are needed. These examinations provide, as with the GP, a clue on which techniques from the respective evidence-based toolbox should then be applied. Again, nothing wrong about this.
As the DC is a specialist in musculoskeletal physiology (just like an orthopaedic surgeon is specialist in operating on joints) it is fair to state that the DC is far better equipped for correctly diagnosing aches and pains related to the musculoskeletal system, and the GP being a specialist in a very big field in medicine, providing a massive knowledge base, is far better equipped for correctly diagnosing from aches and pains related to medical conditions.
Still, people are often confused about when to see the GP, and when to see the DC. How can you make sure you see the right Doctor? I believe in a simple guideline; See your DC when you’re in pain, see your GP when you’re sick.
A very important thing to remember is that the DC is a trained primary health care professional. This means that if your ache or pain is caused by a condition that requires medical attention, your DC will recognise this and adequately refer you to the right institution e.g. your GP or even the ER.
by iCare @ 2013-07-09 – 23:30:01