Learn the Difference Between an MD, DC, APRN, and PA When It Comes to Regenerative Medicine

March 1, 2023

You go to visit a medical provider, and they introduce themselves as the doctor so and so. As patients, our knowledge of different healthcare designations and providers is limited, and we often put our trust and faith in the medical professional in front of us. This is okay, but to get better outcomes when it comes to your health, you need to learn more about the different levels of medical providers you will come across when managing your healthcare. Every healthcare provider has a role in helping patients feel and get better. All the people in the healthcare field want to help people get better, as they often have personal story that makes them want to help others. However, even with good intentions, a healthcare provider may sometimes harm rather than help. It often happens when patients think that a medical provider should be able to treat every symptom they experience, and that is not the case. Every medical provider undergoes training and is proficient in their field, and as such, can make the most difference in offering treatment under their field of study.

Think about it, what will they do if there is a complication? They will often refer you back to your primary care or an expert in the field or nothing.

Regenerative medicine has become a popular and practical approach to treating injuries, diseases, and chronic pain. With the growing demand for this type of treatment, it's essential to understand the different medical professionals who offer regenerative medicine services. This article will explore the differences between an MD, DC, APRN, and PA and their role in regenerative medicine.

What is Regenerative Medicine?

Before we dive into the different medical professionals who offer regenerative medicine, let's first define what it is. Regenerative medicine is a medical treatment that focuses on repairing, regenerating, and replacing damaged tissue and organs. It utilizes the body's natural healing processes to promote regeneration and repair. Regenerative medicine includes various treatments such as stem cell therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and more.

The Difference Between an MD and DC

MDs and DCs are two different types of medical professionals. MDs are Doctors of Medicine, while DCs are Doctors of Chiropractic. The main difference between the two is the type of training they receive.

MDs undergo extensive training in medical school, including four years of undergraduate education and four years of medical school. After completing medical school, they must complete a residency program, lasting anywhere from three to seven years. In addition, MDs also complete fellowships to become super specialized.

DCs, on the other hand, complete four years of undergraduate education followed by four years of chiropractic school. They do not attend medical school or complete a residency program. Instead, they focus on treating musculoskeletal problems using non-surgical methods such as spinal manipulation.

In regenerative medicine, MDs are more likely to offer a broader range of treatments, including stem cell and PRP therapy. DCs, on the other hand, may offer limited regenerative medicine treatments, such as PRP therapy for joint pain, which often is done by an APRN or PA. 

Additionally, MD's who have done their fellowship in Interventional Pain, Orthopedics wherein they learn and treat MSK-related issues, image guidance as they go through rigorous training and, as such can use their knowledge, education, and training to offer optimal outcomes. 

The Difference Between an APRN and PA

APRNs and PAs are advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants. While they have similar roles in healthcare, there are some key differences.

APRNs have completed advanced education and nursing training, allowing them to perform many of the same tasks as physicians. They can diagnose and treat patients, prescribe medication, and provide patient education. APRNs can specialize in family practice, pediatrics, and women's health.

On the other hand, PAs have completed a master's degree in physician assistant studies. They work under the supervision of a physician and can perform many of the same tasks as physicians, including diagnosing and treating patients, prescribing medication, and ordering diagnostic tests.

Regarding regenerative medicine, APRNs and PAs may offer limited treatments, such as PRP therapy. Please do note a qualified PA or an APRN would have had extensive training under an MD who is skilled in that field and is acting as an extension of the MD and performing the procedure under the supervision of the MD. However, they may be unable to offer more advanced regenerative medicine treatments such as stem cell therapy.

Which Medical Professional is Right for You?

When choosing a medical professional for regenerative medicine treatment, it's essential to consider your individual needs and the services each professional offers. If you're looking for more advanced regenerative medicine treatments, such as stem cell therapy, an MD may be the best option. However, if you're looking for non-surgical treatments for joint pain, a DC or APRN can provide the treatment you need.


Q: Can a DC or APRN perform stem cell therapy? 

A: It depends on the state in which they practice and their scope of practice. In some states, DCs and APRNs may be able to offer stem cell therapy under certain conditions. However, it's important to note that MDs are typically the most qualified professionals to provide this type of treatment.

Q: Does insurance cover regenerative medicine? 

A: It depends on your insurance provider and the specific treatment you receive. Some insurance plans may cover certain regenerative medicine treatments, while others may not. It's essential to check with your insurance provider before seeking treatment.

Q: Are there any risks associated with regenerative medicine treatments? 

A: As with any medical treatment, there are potential risks associated with regenerative medicine treatments. These risks can vary depending on the type of treatment and the individual receiving the treatment. It's important to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before undergoing any regenerative medicine treatment.


In conclusion, understanding the differences between an MD, DC, APRN, and PA is crucial when seeking regenerative medicine treatment. While each profession has unique training and expertise, MDs are typically the most qualified professionals to offer advanced regenerative medicine treatments such as stem cell therapy. However, for non-surgical treatments for joint pain, a DC or APRN may be able to provide the treatment you need. As with any medical treatment, discussing your options with your healthcare provider and making an informed decision based on your needs and circumstances is essential.

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