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How Orthopaedic Surgeons Relate to Complimentary and Alternative Medicine Providers

A recent article in the Orthopaedic journal Spine indicated that chiropractors are sought far more often than orthopaedic surgeons by patients with back and neck pain. 54% to 37%. Chiropractors are deemed to be very helpful by 61% of patients. Orthopaedic surgeons were rated as very helpful by only 27% of patients who sought their care.

It is obvious that complimentary and alternative medicine and especially chiropractic treatment, is relative to our patients. It is not unusual for orthopaedic surgeons to make referrals to chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists. Reciprocally, referrals from complimentary and alternative medicine practitioners to orthopaedic surgeons are very common.

Orthopaedic surgeons surveyed reported favorable responses in referring patients to complimentary and alternative medicine providers.

I certainly recognize that we orthopaedic surgeons do not have definitive answers to every clinical problem. Alternative medicine options are probably equivalent to what we can offer to patients if there is no surgical indication.

In my years in practice I have had an excellent relationship with alternative medicine providers, both in referral of patients to them and their request that I see patients who they have not been able to help.

The bottom line I believe is that we are all trying to help the patient and whoever can do that best should provide the treatment.

I believe working together we can do a lot more good than working separately.