Virtual Doctor or Nurse Practitioner For Back Pain? Here’s What You Need to Know

February 1, 2021

Has the pandemic affected your ability to see a doctor in person? Do you suffer from back pain? Many people have been grotesquely affected by being able to see their doctor in-person. Luckily, there are still plenty of virtual options to make sure your back pain doesn’t go untreated.

If you are suffering from back pain and happen to be looking for a virtual doctor, know that there are plenty of them available and the process is easy. The amalgamation of a global pandemic and shifting norms has caused in-person appointments to become virtual.

Doctors are still treating patients but in a novel way. This online process keeps patients safe as well as doctors. Due to the commonality of back pain, you’ll find that finding a virtual medical provider for your back pain is easy and can even be fun.

Can You See a Virtual Doctor For Back Pain?

If you’re wondering about the possibility of seeing a virtual doctor for back pain, look no further. With doctor’s offices changing their norms for COVID-19, many offices have found that they can implement online consultations into their regularity.

Going to the doctor’s is a mundane experience, right? You follow the typical steps of checking in, showing insurance, and you wait to be called back. Sitting in a bustling waiting room with the possibility of COVID spreading isn’t ideal for you. Instead, inquire about virtual office visits if you haven't already.

Providers such as doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants have been seeing patients online more than ever. To keep the spread of the virus down, you can complete your checkup virtually. Your telehealth website should set you up on the software they work with for your online examination and details about how to sign in and what you need during your visit.

If your back pain is debilitating or is affecting your ability to function, a virtual visit may not be effective. You’ll need to consider a specialist if your back pain is that severe, or contact your regular doctor for suggestions on the best way to proceed. You can also see a virtual provider and ask them for guidance and whether you need a specialist or could they manage your pain. 

What Kind of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

You can begin your journey of finding a virtual medical provider by deciphering what kind of provider is best for you. The following medical personnel below should be your starting point. Check out the types of medical specialties below.

  • Psychiatrist - mental health specialist
  • Chiropractor - helps to align joints
  • Orthopedic Specialist - handles diseases of bones
  • Pain Management Specialist - manages and diagnoses pain
  • Spine Surgeon - performs major surgery on the spinal area
  • General Practice Provider- prescribes and refers for diagnosis

Each provider listed can help diagnose your back pain depending on your symptoms, and each has a different process of treatment. Back pain is a complicated issue that can be approached in several ways. Each doctor will approach it differently for both diagnosis and treatment options, which can be a benefit.

We will look into the specifications of each doctor to help you decide which type is best for you. It is important to remember that not everyone reacts the same to different medical treatments and some approaches will work better than others. If this pain is new to you, evaluating different options is a good idea.

If you are a Connecticut resident and need a provider to refer you to one of the following specialists, you can schedule a telehealth visit with They will perform a comprehensive exam, start treatment, and refer you to a specialist if needed.


Specializing in mental illness, this isn’t the typical doctor you’d find treating back pain. However, you’d be surprised to find that psychiatrists cover a broad spectrum of disorders. Some of which result in chronic back pain facilitated by mental illness.

If your back pain cannot be treated with conventional methods, it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself seeing a psychiatrist. However, due to the virtual nature of the industry at the moment - you are likely to find yourself being examined online. To prepare for a virtual appointment with a psychiatrist, take the following steps:

  • Search for a virtual psychiatrist
  • Choose your specifications
  • Complete Registration
  • Pay initial price
  • Follow prompts for examination

You’ll find that searching for a psychiatrist is extensive. Depending on your preference, this can take upwards of hours. However, taking the time to make sure you are choosing the best one for your symptoms is key to being diagnosed with accuracy.

In addition, virtual examinations are similar to in-person appointments here. You’ll need to pay upfront before completing your examination, as well as to upload insurance for verification. Note that your psychiatrist may give you home exercises to help you with the pain you are feeling.

During your examination, it is recommended that you prepare ahead. Have a list of your symptoms ready to present to the doctor, and expect to be asked detailed questions for a proper diagnosis. It is also important that you are open with your doctors and give a complete list of symptoms, whether you think they are related to your back pain or not.


Most people know what going to the chiropractor entails. In detail, a chiropractor’s job is to help with neck and back pain by manual manipulation of joints. They also diagnosis conditions and specifically handle patients with the following symptoms:

  • Sore muscles
  • Stiff joints or muscles
  • Misaligned joints
  • Recurring back pain

Generally, seeing a chiropractor (in-person) will immediately relieve a slew of these symptoms. The forceful movement of the joints is sometimes all that is needed to provide relief for your back pain. However, the process virtually is much different.

Finding a Chiropractor is your first step. To do this, simply search online for the best virtual Chiropractor available. Then, follow the prompts for completing your registration.

Online Chiropractic sessions involve a conglomeration of exercises depending on the symptoms that you have. Your doctor will demonstrate these exercises via video conference for you to complete at home.

They will also follow up with you on a consistent basis to evaluate the change. If there is no change, your Chiropractor may write you a prescription. This will be sent online (via email in most cases) and can be used to pick-up medicine as effectively as a physically written one.

Do All Doctors Offer Virtual Visits?

Some doctors do offer some type of virtual visit for their patients. However, many do not currently provide this service. Doctors have been busy treating patients in the office and may not want to take time for telehealth visits. 

With COVID-19 and other factors like traveling, sometimes blocking in-person visits, the number of doctors who offer this service has increased.

However, some doctors may want an in-person visit regardless, depending on what your health situation is. However, communication is the only way to truly find out if your doctor will allow a virtual visit or not. 

General Practice Provider

Commonly referred to as a family practice doctor, these doctors treat all ages and genders of patients. They don’t necessarily hold a specialization, but rather consider the symptoms holistically. For example, a general practice doctor may deduce that your back pain is due to bad habits in your daily life. 

These are also the doctors you go to for standard check-ups. Virtually the process is quite similar. If you already have a general practice doctor that is now virtual, your doctor’s office will reach out to you with instructions on the change. 

However, if you are looking for a general practice company that providers virtual visits- look below:

  • Choose a company located in your state
  • Look at credibility 
  • Examine your own health needs
  • Check their page out on facebook

Your general practice doctor should be fully aware of your average choices in everyday life. If you have bad back pain, make sure to let your physician in on your daily habits. A benefit of seeing a general practice provider is that you receive total care. 

If your medical provider needs to test you, they will instruct you on virtual testing protocol. Be aware that, although most doctors offer virtual visits - not all of them do. Be sure to check with the telehealth company office for the specifications they have listed. 

 Orthopedic Specialist 

Devoted to the prevention of bone, muscle, and skeletal deterioration, these specialists are experienced in many diseases that could lead to severe back pain. If your pain doesn’t subside with a general lifestyle change, or if you are referred - an Orthopaedic Specialist can help. 

Patients are generally referred to Orthopaedic Specialists for further examination and diagnosis. They can also perform surgery if need be. 

Looking for one virtually can be challenging. You’ll first want to ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I need surgery?
  • Is my pain debilitating?
  •  Is my pain spreading to other areas of my body?

If your answers to this question are yes, then seeing an Orthopaedic Specialist virtually may be a good idea. 

Pain Management Specialist 

Pain management specialists are trained to stop pain at the source by evaluating the root of your pain and delivering a solution. In addition to this, the specialists treat pain that falls into the following subcategories:

  • Pain Due to Direct Tissue Injury.
  • Nerve Injuries 
  • A Mix of Tissue and Nerve Pain 

Pain due to direct tissue injury can be caused by a number of things, but more often than not the cause is physical damage. Sports-related injuries are a good example of this. Another example is prolonged damage to tissue, such as arthritis. 

The second subcategory of nerve injuries also includes nervous system diseases. Strokes are an example of this, but injuries to your nervous system can be a complicated and complex issue that will require a careful approach and may need more invasive examinations and testing. 

And lastly, a mix of both include back pain. You’ll need to see a pain management specialist if your back pain is persistent and keeps you from performing in your daily activities. 

Pain management providers’ experience is, as I said, ‘extensive.’ Treatment for your back pain is specialized, oftentimes involving a concoction of medicines solely for you. An example of this specialization would include the creation of a medicinal to help alleviate acute lower back pain. Due to the specificity of the pain, the treatment is also specific.  

If looking for a pain management specialist, begin by locating where the center of your pain is. You’ll be able to better search for one if you can localize it. Moreover, it is more likely that you will be referred to a pain management specialist rather than having to look for one. You’ll also have to complete registration virtually but will need to be ready for an in-person examination when the time permits. 

Spine Surgeon 

When your back pain points to an issue with your spine that cannot be fixed with conventional methods, it’s likely that you’ll be referred to a spinal surgeon. Virtually, a consultation may be held. This is a time for the surgeon to familiarize themselves with you and more. 

Typically, back pain severe enough for a spinal surgeon has resulted in nervous system damage. Don’t fret though, spinal surgeons are educated in many ways to help you with your pain aside from surgery. Being specialists, they are educated in advanced methods such as: 

  • Physical Therapy 
  • Pain-Relieving Injections 
  • Nerve and Imaging Studies 

Physical therapy done by a spinal surgeon will be similar to the exercises a Chiropractor gives. They involve alleviation of pain through restabilization of the skeletal system. 

Injections are a newer method to relieve back pain but are incredibly effective. A steroid is primed into the needle and then injected into the inflamed area. Oftentimes, this results in immediate relief. 

It goes without saying that throughout the process, your spinal surgeon will attempt to diagnose your issue by referring to previous gained knowledge. This process may also result in X-Ray utilization, in order to better understand and localize the center of your pain. 

If surgery is necessary, your surgeon will give you the best options. Spinal surgery is serious and can be intimidating. However, these doctors are specialists and their methods will likely lead to the end of your back issues. 

Your spinal surgeon is also equipped to help you virtually. Depending on the office, they are likely to have their own software for you to use. Your specialist will check in with you through there. If they need you to come into the office, it can quickly be communicated. 

What Do I Need For My Virtual Visit?

Depending on the reason for your visit, there is a possibility that you will need more than a list of symptoms and identification. Different visits and different doctors may need certain things from you. 

To successfully complete a virtual visit, you will need the following:

  • An internet connection
  • A mobile device with a microphone and webcam for communication 
  • Your insurance card (front and back)
  • Motor vehicle License or identification card
  • A list of your symptoms
  • Copy of past imagining if available 

The first thing you will need to do is obtain a piece of equipment capable of steaming basic video. An affordable laptop is a great choice to invest in, such as a Chromebook. You can also use a smartphone that has a program for video such as facetime, google Duo or WhatsApp (allowed during the Covid 19 pandemic)

Connection & Setting

Your virtual visit will go smoother with a good connection and a quiet room. Give your doctor the same privacy as is given when in person. The process is the same. Likewise, without a decent connection, you may have trouble completing your examination. 

You’ll need your insurance card for virtual check-ups. Be sure to inquire about the benefits that your insurance company may offer, and talk to your doctor about additional opportunities. 

Your medical provider will need you to provide them with a list of your symptoms in detail in order to best serve you. It’s best if you write them down and present them to your doctor, so as to remember everything. 

It’s a possibility that you’ll be asked to upload photo verification when making an account for virtual visits. If this is the case, make sure you have a form of ID with you, and it would be beneficial to take high-quality photos beforehand. 

Insurance Policies: Telehealth 

With a growing number of doctor’s offices going online, it can be daunting to wonder if your insurance company will cover an online visit. Copay costs aren’t cheap, and you aren’t the only one wondering about this question. Luckily I have that information for you below. 

A growing number of insurance companies are interested in Telehealth. Telehealth refers to health services that operate partly or wholly online. Without it, you’ll be expected to pay the full brunt of your medical bill. Here the top insurance companies that offer Telehealth benefits:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield 
  • Cigna
  • Aetna
  • United HealthCare 
  • Humana 

Moreover, each company is offering two features. The first feature is the ‘talk to a doctor’ option offered by those companies. This allows you to contact a doctor virtually for a quick diagnosis on minor issues. If you need serious help, you need to go to the hospital. 

The doctors on telehealth have the ability legally (in most states) to prescribe medicine virtually. This is a new feature, allowing for pharmacies to immediately be sent patient prescriptions. 

Care should be taken when using “insurance company doctors” to make sure thay have your interests first and not to save the insurance companies money.

Lastly, the company offers a 24/7 nurse hotline. This hotline allows users to contact nurses from around the world. They don’t have the ability to prescribe, but they can help you manage your symptoms. The nurses can also make suggestions, recommendations and refer to you if need be. 

Although Telehealth is a growingly attractive feature, the novel invention is bound by many laws. With the possibility of abuse, many states are keeping a close eye on virtual prescriptions. 

Pricing With Telehealth 

Healthcare premiums can be expensive, but as most have learned, they are necessary. You may be wondering if the cost of your premium will change if you opt for Telehealth. Well, that depends. Read below: 

Depending upon your insurance provider, Telehealth coverage may not be provided. Considering the novelty of Telehealth and the constant changes revolving within healthcare, insurance companies are also shifting their norms. However, the Big 5 companies all have similar premiums (aside from a single difference). 

Each insurance provider offers a plan for telehealthcare. If you’ve already purchased healthcare with any of these companies, there is no need to worry about a surprise in a price change. The only thing to worry about is the cost of using Telehealth. 

The only price change is in using Telehealth as a United Healthcare policyholder or a Humana. These prices will likely decrease as more doctors, nurses, and policyholders join. For now, however, you can expect to have to pay per session with those companies. 

The Legality of Prescribing Through Telehealth In Connecticut

Connecticut recently legalized Telehealth throughout the state and gave certified board doctors, Advanced Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants the ability to write prescriptions online. The ramifications are steep since this feature is vulnerable to misuse, but there have not been many issues yet.

Opioids are one of the drugs that are highly regulated when it comes to prescribing online. During the Covid 19 pandemic, there are emergency orders that allow for prescribers to write for opioid medications. Prior to Covid, providers were not allowed to prescribe these meds during telehealth visits. 

Their addictive properties, combined with their efficacy, make it dangerous to prescribe them over the internet, especially when determining when someone needs them, which can be difficult.

How Do Labs Work With Virtual Visits

A crucial part of visiting the doctor’s office is getting blood work done. The process is critical in the identification of illnesses, malnutrition, and more. It all depends on what you need to see below the surface. Although getting lab work done virtually might seem like an impossible idea, it is not.

Depending on the type of lab work that needs to be done, your doctor’s office will inform you of the next steps.

Your telehealth provider usually faxes lab slips to a local laboratory where you can have labs drawn. Results will then be sent back to them for review. Your lab results may lead to a follow-up visit to review the results of your studies. 

However, in the case of needing blood work and other tests for patients unable to leave home, there are at-home DIY kits available. Examples of such kits are:

  • At-Home DIY Blood Work Kit
  • DIY Urine Sampling Kit 
  • DIY DNA Testing Kit
  • Home Covid-19 Testing

Although it may seem intimidating, doing lab work at home is not as complicated as one may think. There will generally be laid-out instructions that will help you get through the process as efficiently as possible. 

DIY Blood Work Kit

DIY blood work kits are convenient. Coming with a small device that is used to prick a finger, the test is painless and efficient. After the initial step of pricking your finger, follow up by dotting the sample on the stainless steel pad and seal to conclude the test.

Although it is simplistic, it can be tricky if the instructions are not followed. Be sure to consult your doctor or doctor’s office if you are in need of assistance.

DIY Urine Sampling Kit

DIY urine sampling kits are self-explanatory. The kit comes with a small bottle that can be sealed afterward to prevent any problems with the sample. The instructions are simple, with the only steps being to fill the bottle to a certain point and then seal it. Be careful during the procurement of the sample to ensure no contamination occurs.

After the sample has been taken, follow your doctor’s instructions for delivery.

DIY DNA Testing Kit

There are two types of testing kits for DNA. The first test is similar to the blood test. You will be using the device within to prick your finger and save the sample. The second involves taking a cheek cell sample. To do this, you will need to follow these steps:

  • First, carefully remove the cheek swab from the package, being careful not to allow it to touch anything as you do.
  • Then, take the cotton swab and roll it across a section of your cheek.
  • Finally, collect the sample and properly store it by sealing it within the provided plastic.

Lab work can be done liberally, but it requires direction. If you have a disability that interferes with your ability to properly complete this lab work on your own, consult your doctor’s office or doctor. They can then make arrangements for proper testing.


Regardless of if you have back pain, or suffer from another medical issue that requires you to see a doctor. You can do so virtually. Doing so, in fact, ensures the safety of others and the safety of healthcare providers. 

As you look forward to scheduling your first online consultation with your medical provider, or even if it’s a specialist, you’re likely to receive the same cordiality, respect, and care as you do normally do in their offices. However, it can all be done without the hassle of driving to the office.  

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