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Allopathic Medicine Map Key

Medicine Map Key

Last post we covered the Medicine Map of the different areas of medical support from allopathic to complementary to alternative.  Now let’s look at the Key. What do all these providers do and who should you go to?  Today we look at the Allopathic and Complementary components.

General Practitioner: Usually the primary care physician that is the first stop for prevention and when something new comes up.  When dealing with chronic conditions, this Practitioner will coordinate ongoing care as needed.  The gatekeeper, especially in HMOs, who refers to specialists if anything looks serious.  GPs are a great resource and can help decide what specialists would be appropriate.

Internal Medicine Doctor: deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases.  Internists are especially skilled in the management of patients who have undifferentiated or multi-system disease processes. (according to Wikipedia) 

Physical Therapist/ Physiotherapist: A therapy that includes exercises especially for rehabilitation of injuries and stretches along with other therapies. Usually includes exercises that can be done at home. It can sometimes be painful but also can build muscles and posture that can help with structural and functional imbalances. 

Occupational Therapist: Someone who supports adaptive behaviors so that you can be more functional.  Help to be able to do things differently with the abilities that you have.

Rheumatologist: is a specialty within internal medicine that deals with arthritis and diseases of the connective tissues. This includes diseases like Fibromyalgia and Lupus.

Anesthesiologist: is a specialty that focuses on pain relief during and after surgery and also deals with pain management.

Neurologist: a doctor who specializes in the neurological systems.  Pain is sent to the brain through nerves so this can be a specialty that can help with understanding some of the imbalances that chronic pain may represent.

Orthopedist: is a surgical specialty that deals with the muscular skeletal systems.

Physiatrist: a doctor who specializes in rehabilitation medicine to bring optimal function.

Podiatrist: a doctor who specializes in feet which can have an impact on alignment and function of the whole body.

Pain Management: usually a multi disciplinary approach to deal with rehabilitation and chronic pain. Approaches work together to relieve suffering and bring back quality of life. Includes prescriptions, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, massage therapy, biofeedback.

Osteopathic medicine: In the United States, a doctor who has additional training in manual therapies used for muscular Skeletal systems to improve posture.

Psychiatrist: Medical specialty that diagnosis and treats mental disorders.  Psychologists who are more like therapists might us Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance Committment Therapy to support coping and adaptive behaviors and thoughts. Other mental disorders such as anxiety and depression often accompany chronic pain.

This is not an exhaustive list.  What systems are involved in your pain?  This can help you to decide on what kind of specialist you should go to. Here is a link to the AMA which talks about specialties that doctors can choose from.  Click here for the link.

Next time we will look at more of the complementary and alternative approaches.  Original Post on the Medicine Map.