When You Should See Your Medical Doctor Instead of Your Chiropractor

When You Should See Your Medical Doctor Instead of Your ChiropractorAt Fort Worth Express Chiropractic, we often have patients state on their first visit, “I wasn’t sure if I should come to the chiropractor or go see my MD.”

When it comes to pain, including everything from sciatica and lower back pain to neck pain and headaches, it can be difficult to know where to go first; especially if the pain is acute or severe.

In this short post we give tips to help guide you on where and who to see when the pain comes on.


Let your level of pain help you determine if you should go to the chiropractor verses going to the medical doctor. Severe pain that is a 7 or higher (a 10 indicating you need to go to the ER) usually needs medical intervention before chiropractic.

If you have ever seen a chiropractor then you know the goal. They are going to be looking for misaligned spinal bones and get them realigned.

If the pain is so bad that you can’t fathom the thought of someone pushing on it, then you may not be ready for the chiropractor. You may need the MD first, to ensure there is nothing more ‘medical’ in nature going on and to get you some relief.

The warning I would extend to you is that once you do have the pain down, get into your chiropractor to begin working on fixing any underlying cause of the pain.

While medication is awesome for getting quick relief, they usually aren’t going to fix the issue.


If you go to the nearby chiropractor, chances are he or she is going to need you to lay face down on the table to get work done. Some work can be done sitting, but it is typically less effective.

If your issue is any area other than the lower or middle back, the doctor likely can do some work with you sitting up on the table.

Another considering with the location of the pain. If you have pain in the chest, head, abdomen, for example, and it is a new issue, there could be something going on that needs medical attention before chiropractic care.

While any area of your body could have an alignment issue, the above listed seem to respond well to chiropractic care. More challenging areas, in my experience, are knees and elbows because they are often more ‘soft tissue’ in nature verses alignment issues.


If your pain is of sudden onset, this could indicate an issue that is more serious.

Any time we see a new patient in Express Chiropractic in Fort Worth, we are inquiring about the ‘onset’ of their pain. Pain that a patient has never had and that comes suddenly is more cause for concern than pain that is chronic, or pain that has been previously diagnosed and treated.

If you have a rapid or sudden onset of a problem, and especially if that problem has symptoms such as a severe headache, changes in vision or speech, or pain referring into your arms or legs, you might need a quick medical checkup before heading into the local chiropractic office.

If your issue is the result of significant trauma, you must always be concerned about a fracture or other damage to surrounding tissues. This type of medical emergency is best suited for the medical office. But, remember this important fact: If you had trauma bad enough to need an ER, then you likely also created an alignment issue in the injured region or regions. So, once you are stable, getting in to see the chiropractor is an important next step.

Overall, chiropractic care is extremely safe and effective. But, that doesn’t mean there are occasions where a condition needs the expertise of a medical doctor before the expertise of a chiropractor.

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