Open Accessibility Menu

Pain Management Doctor vs. Physiatrist vs. Surgeon

Pain Management Doctor vs. Physiatrist vs. Surgeon

With so many different types of physicians, with different sub-specialties it can be hard to keep up and make an informed decision about your care. In this article, we will discuss the differences between surgeons, physiatrists, and pain management physicians – and which type of doctor you should see for your back pain.

Pain Management Physician

Pain management doctors are trained specifically in the treatment of pain. They have MD degrees and have completed residencies and fellowships specifically geared toward pain conditions and injuries. Pain doctors are often best at treating complex pain conditions like fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome. They can prescribe pain medication, and often administer other pain relief methods like injection therapy and ablation.


A physiatrist is very similar to a pain management physician, but differs in a few key areas. Physiatrists are MDs trained in physical medicine, rehabilitation, and pain management. You could say that physiatrists are pain management physicians, but not all pain management doctors are physiatrists. Physiatrists often work very closely with surgeons to manage pain and rehabilitate patients with physical and occupational therapy after a surgical procedure.

Spine Surgeon

Spine surgeons are MDs who perform surgery on the spine and its surrounding structures. If you have a spinal nerve issue, or you have pain that has not resolved with non-surgical treatments, a spine surgeon is your best bet for finding back pain relief.

If you are suffering through life with pain in your back or neck, consider an Inspired Spine surgery. Our procedures are study-backed, and have been proven to offer short operating times, and fast recoveries. As a result, patients report much less pain than they do with traditional spinal surgeries. Contact us today to see if you are a good candidate for an Inspired Spine procedure – or find a provider in your area who performs these surgeries.