Artwork for podcast Back Talk Doc
Should You Be Concerned About Seeing a Physician Assistant for Spine Care?
Episode 3510th May 2021 • Back Talk Doc • Sanjiv Lakhia - Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
00:00:00 00:15:59

Share Episode


Just like the spine — the clinicians, doctors, and practitioners who practice spinal care comprise a complex system.

In this episode of Back Doc Talk, we are talking about the team it takes to manage your spinal health, and especially the role of Physician Assistants (PAs). 

PAs like Mike Nido of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates are responsible for a range of treatments and assistance when it comes to fixing back and spine problems.

But is patient care compromised when you see a PA instead of a physician?

PAs are a backbone of the spine issue treatment. Pun fully intended!

Whether it is always seeking that second opinion, having multiple safety nets in place when it comes to films and imaging, or just having a friendly face,

“We make it very clear to [patients] that even though I'm here providing your care, the doctor that's standing behind me is very aware of what's going on and very involved in all of the decisions that are made,” Mike explains.

Listen to this episode of Back Talk Doc to understand the role of a PA and the type of care you can expect from one, how they work with physicians to address spine issues, and much more.


💡 Featured Expert 💡

Name: Michael Nido

What he does: Mike pulls double duty not only as a Physician Assistant, but also as the Director of Clinical Services at Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates. He’s been with the clinic for 24 years. 

Company: Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates

Words of wisdom: “The important thing for our patient to understand is that you're not getting second class care. You're not going to the B team. This is your way of getting your foot in the door, getting your care initiated in such a way that by the time you see the physician, all the important stuff has been completed and ready for his review.” 

Connect: LinkedIn


⚓ Anchor Points ⚓

Top takeaways from this Back Talk Doc episode 

★    The team needed to keep a clinic running is larger than you think.  Between doctors and receptionists, nurses, and PAs, there are more types of medical professionals at your local spinal clinic than you may realize. It truly takes a team to provide care and aid your back and spinal recovery.

★    PAs and physicians are in constant communication. One of the main concerns from patients when they go into a clinic and are assigned a Physician's Assistant rather than a doctor is that they may not believe the PA is up to the task. But the fact is that PAs work very closely with physicians and are making sure you are getting the highest quality care. PAs and physicians communicate a ton behind the scenes.

★    Seeing a PA is practical. When patients see a Physician’s Assistant rather than a physician, they’re not getting sub-quality care. In fact, it makes practical sense because a PA can help a doctor get all the tools needed to make a diagnosis. PAs help get tests done and identify the problem so that by the time the patient does see the doctor, everything will be in place for diagnosis and treatment. 


⚕️ Episode Insights ⚕️

[00:00] Mobile-based solutions for clinical practice: Check out our sponsor, QxMD, which builds mobile solutions that drive evidence-based medicine in clinical practice.

[02:47] Introducing Physician Assistants: The lead Physician Assistant at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, Mike Nido, describes his role.

[05:13] The role of Physician Assistants in clinics: Mike gets into the details of his day-to-day experience as a PA, including the education needed and what types of patients he cares for.

[07:33] PA vs. Certified Nurse Practitioner: Knowing all the different types of practitioners can be overwhelming. Dr. Lakhia asks Mike to explain the difference between these roles, especially in a clinic and hospital setting.

[9:55] But I don’t want to see the PA: Communication is important. Mike and Dr. Lakhia discuss why patients are often skeptical of Physician Assistants. They also talk about why this skepticism usually isn’t founded. 

[12:09] Teamwork: Not all clinics have a collaborative model, but it is something Dr. Lakhia believes is beneficial for overall care.

[13:20] Getting an appointment is the hardest part: Everyone understands the pain of waiting to be seen. By choosing a PA instead of a physician, Dr. Lakhia explains that patients can get into the clinic a lot faster.

[14:13] Show and tell: Wrapping up. Mike Lido shares a bit more about himself and his family.

Subscribe & Contact

👉 If you enjoyed this episode of Back Talk Doc, check out our recent episode How Back Pain Can Affect Your Relationship (and What to Do About It).

🔎 For more information on Dr. Sanjiv Lakhia and the podcast visit

🎧 Subscribe in your favorite podcast app.


Back Talk Doc is brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. To learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back and spine issues, go to To schedule an appointment with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, you can call us at 1-800-344-6716 or visit our website at