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Healthcare Providers for the Spine, Shoulder, or Pelvis

Who treats conditions of the spine, shoulder, or pelvis?

These conditions may be treated by your main healthcare provider. Or they may be treated by other medical specialists. You may have more than one healthcare provider taking part in your care. This is important in managing the symptoms of a condition. This is because some symptoms are chronic. Or they may change in severity over time. Some of the healthcare providers that treat spine, shoulder, and pelvis problems include:

Primary healthcare provider

A primary healthcare provider has had training in general internal medicine, family practice, or another care area. They give routine healthcare. This includes annual physical exams and vaccines. They give information and support for healthy living and preventing disease. They treat acute health problems, such as the flu. And they care for conditions that may become more serious or chronic.

Your primary healthcare provider may treat and diagnose your disease. But they may also refer you to other providers for more types of treatment.


A neurologist is a healthcare provider who focuses on disorders of the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. A neurologist has 4 years of medical school. Then they have 1 year of residency in internal medicine. After that, this type of healthcare provider has at least 3 years of neurology residency.


A neurosurgeon focuses on disorders that affect the nervous systems. This includes disorders of the brain, meninges, skull, and blood supply. This type of healthcare provider may use surgery or other methods for treatment. They may also do spine surgery for some conditions. They include spinal stenosis and disk problems. 

Orthopedic surgeon

An orthopedic surgeon focuses on bone and joint injuries and disorders. This type of healthcare provider is also called an orthopedist. They focus on the musculoskeletal system. This includes diagnosing and treating an injury. It also includes giving therapy to an affected part of the body. And it includes giving advice on how to reduce harm.

An orthopedist has 4 years of medical school. They then have a residency in orthopedic surgery. They may then have some extra training. After being licensed to practice medicine, this healthcare provider may become board-certified. This is done by passing both oral and written exams given by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Many orthopedic surgeons choose to practice general orthopedics. Others focus on certain areas of the body. This might include foot, hand, shoulder, spine, hip, or knee. Or they may pick an area of orthopedic care, such as sports medicine or trauma. Some may focus on several areas. And they may work with other healthcare providers in caring for people. For example, they may work with neurosurgeons or rheumatologists.


Physiatry is a medical specialty that helps restore lost physical abilities. This is done for a person who has been disabled as a result of disease, disorder, or injury. A physiatrist gives care aimed at recovery for the whole person. This is done by addressing a person’s physical, mental, medical, work-related, and social needs.


A rheumatologist is a healthcare provider who focuses on treating arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. These diseases can affect joints, muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. These healthcare providers are trained to find many types of these diseases in their early stages. This includes arthritis, many autoimmune diseases, muscle and bone pain and disorders, and osteoporosis. These healthcare providers have 4 years of medical school. They then have 3 years of extra training in internal medicine or pediatrics. Then they have 2 or 3 years of extra training in the field of rheumatology. A rheumatologist may also be board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.


An anesthesiologist is trained to give medicines to control pain and support life functions before, during, and after surgery. This type of healthcare provider has 4 years of medical school. They then have 4 years of extra training in anesthesia. An anesthesiologist often then picks an area of surgery to focus on. For example, some may focus on neurosurgical anesthesia.

Online Medical Reviewer: Rahul Banerjee MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Turley Jr PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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