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Chiropractic physicians and neurosurgeons both have extensive training in spinal anatomy, spinal biomechanics, diseases of the spine and neurology as it relates to the spine. Both disciplines can perform or order the necessary procedures to diagnose spine and related conditions. Due to the length of the spine, an individual may have varying degrees of the same pathology occurring at different levels of the spine, thus requiring a multidisciplinary approach. Common examples of conditions which may coexist, include degenerative disc disease, pain syndromes, disc herniation, arthritic disease, abnormal spinal joint movement and radiculopathy. The chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon care for many of the same degenerative spinal disorders at different ends of the disease spectrum.

Early-stage spine disease is often best addressed by chiropractic physicians whereas late-stage spine disease, involving potential or actual neurological compromise, may require the attention of the neurosurgeon. Intermediate stages of spinal disease may require a cooperative effort between the chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon.

The chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon strive to protect and restore biomechanical and neurological integrity of the spine through: early diagnosis, early intervention, patient education and through the prevention of unnecessary surgery. Both the chiropractic physician and the neurosurgeon may require the assistance of other specialists to help care for a patient with an unstable or complex spinal disorder.

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