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What Kind of Doctor Treats Sciatica

Sciatica can be a complicated knot to untangle. Because there are so many potential causes, it wouldn’t be wise to start anywhere but the very beginning: your family doctor.  A family practice physician should be able to identify the general cause of your nerve pain and get the treatment process started. This may mean that you never move beyond the family practice level; it also may mean a referral to a medical specialist.

If your family doctor or primary care physician decides your treatment requires additional help, then he’ll likely send you to one of the following types of doctors.


A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in the human nervous system. Sciatica is, of course, a nerve issue; a neurologist may be able to diagnose causes of nerve pain and offer solutions that a primary care physician could not offer.

It’s likely that your neurologist will have some kind of diagnostic testing performed on your back; this will allow him to make an accurate diagnosis.

Common tests include:

  • X-Ray. This is the most common imaging method–it will produce images that give your neurologist a good look at your anatomy.
  • MRI. This is an imaging method that employs magnets and radio frequencies to create an extremely precise image of your body.
  • EMG/NCV. These nerve conduction tests record electrical activity in your body and confirm that nerves are working properly.

Orthopedic Doctor

If your sciatica is caused by an issue requiring more aggressive intervention, such as a herniated disk or degenerative disk disease, then you’ll need to visit an orthopedist.

He may determine that you need a surgical procedure to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve, such as a microdiscectomy, or disk fusion.

If you visit an orthopedic doctor and receive a recommendation for surgery, it’s critical that you seek at least one more opinion. Advances in medical science may allow for a non-surgical solution to your sciatic pain, and avoiding surgery is always the best tact when possible.

Check your surgeon’s reviews online and ensure that they do not have a reputation for rushing to surgery when another path is viable.


A chiropractor is not strictly speaking a medical doctor, but he can provide relief for sciatica if the cause is related to muscle weakness or tightness.

One common cause of sciatica is trigger points or knots in your muscles that irritate the sciatic nerve. If this is your issue (commonly caused by sitting too much or over-stimulation), then a chiropractor will be able to do wonders for your health that medication could never manage.

Typically, it will take a chiropractor four visits to fix issues related to the sciatic nerve.

This form of physical rehabilitation does have limitations, so make sure you find a chiropractor who understands these limitations and does not try to tackle medical issues that are beyond his scope.


The sort of doctor who will ultimately treat your sciatica is determined, of course, by the source of your issue. Begin with a family physician (or a chiropractor) and then move on to another medical specialist from there if necessary.

If you need to find a doctor near you experienced in treating sciatica pain, call 1-800-897-8440 today!