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Family Practice

These are general or primary care physicians that provide continuing and comprehensive health care for the individual and family. Their job is to take care of your everyday needs such as checkups, vaccines, and monitoring overall health. They may also provide gynecologic exams. They refer you to specialists when needed.

Internal Medicine

Internal medicine physicians have postgraduate training in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that affect adults and often act as advisors to family physicians when they need help solving a difficult diagnostic problem.


These specialists are trained in the endocrine system, hormones, metabolism, and their effects on growth, development, tissue function, digestion, respiration, exercise, mood, sleep, and reproductive function. They may run tests to investigate your adrenals, parathyroid glands, pituitary glands, ovaries, testes, thyroid gland, thymus, and pancreas. They treat hyperthyroidism (Graves disease), hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease), adrenal disease, and diabetes. They may or may not be an expert in some of the rarer forms of endocrine disease or educated in neuroendocrinology. It is only recently that medicine has realized that hormones and neurotransmitters are tightly interwoven and that the gut plays a crucial role in neurotransmission and hormone performance.


These are doctors who specialize in clinical problems involving joints, soft tissues, autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and inheritable connective tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, spondylitis, Sjögren's syndrome, scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and polymyalgia rheumatica.


These are doctors who specialize in  disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and the somatic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and muscles. They treat headaches, radiculopathy, neuropathy, stroke, dementia, seizures, epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, multiple sclerosis, head trauma, sleep disorders, neuromuscular diseases, and infections and tumors of the nervous system.

Neuromuscular Specialist

These are specialists with extensive training in treating Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), botulism, congenital myasthenic syndromes, congenital myopathies, cramp-fasciculation syndrome, elevated creatine kinase, fasciculations, inclusion-body myositis, Lambert-Eaton syndrome, mitochondrial myopathy, motor neuron disease, muscle disorders, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, myotonic dystrophy, neuromuscular junction disorders, neuromyotonia (Isaacs syndrome), peripheral neuropathy, and polymyositis.

Movement Disorder Specialist

These are doctors who treat disorders that affect movement such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's chorea, ataxia, tremor, dystonia, torticollis, restless leg syndrome, and other movement disorders.

Pain Management Specialist

These are doctors who  focus on the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pain as a symptom of disease (eudynia) and primary pain disorders (maldynia). They prescribe medication and work on physical rehabilitation.


These are specialists in nerve, muscle, and bone injuries or illnesses that affect how you move. They have special training in physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Physical Therapist

Physical therapists are trained health care professionals (not physicians) who help rehabilitate patients after injuries, etc. They help restore mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and physical intervention. Unfortunately, most physical therapists are not trained in treating dystonia, spasticity, or stiff-person syndrome. Their methods can potentially worsen SPS spasms.


These are specialists in behavior and mental disorders relating to the brain or neurochemical imbalances. Dealing with a chronic debilitating disease often leads to depression. Psychologists are usually PhDs and are not licensed to prescribe medications.


These are medical doctors who treat depression, anxiety, and other disorders relating to the brain or neurochemistry and are licensed to prescribe medications. Your psychologist can work with your family physician to prescribe medications or he may send you to consult with a psychiatrist.


Osteopaths are medical doctors in the United States who practice a holistic theory of mind-body medicine. They are trained in movement, bones, muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue. They focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue, and internal organs function as a holistic unit.


These specialists treat fractures, strained muscles, torn ligaments and tendons, and other injuries and deal with acquired and congenital skeletal deformities and the effects of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. They perform bone grafts, hip and other joint replacements, prostheses, special footwear, and braces to enhance mobility. They use physical medicine, rehabilitation, and occupational therapy. They are usually qualified surgeons.

Other Sources

Connecting with on-line support groups can help you learn about personal experiences with different physicians in different areas. In addition, you can search for doctors through other on-line search engines.

Health Grades

NORD physician search engine

WebMD Physician Directory

Medicare Physician Compare

Your insurance provider may have their own search engine for doctors covered by their plans. In addition, your local hospital may have a search engine for physicians that operate within their network.


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