Lower Back Pain Specialist in Delray Beach, FL
Expert nonsurgical treatment for chronic low back pain
What is Back Pain?
Back health is not something we proactively think about until we begin to experience chronic back pain or sustain a back injury that results in acute pain. Depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms, chronic back pain can be a debilitating burden on Palm Beach patients who live with this condition. Back pain can make the simplest of daily activities difficult and extremely uncomfortable.
For patients near Delray Beach whose line of work involves a significant amount of regular physical movement or standing, chronic back pain can even make it challenging for them to perform their job duties. Back pain is the leading cause of disability among Americans under the age of 45 according to research from the National Institute of Health Statistics (NIHS). If back pain is interfering with your life or you sustained an acute back or spinal injury, pain management physician Marcie Merson, MD at Palm Beach Pain Specialists can help offer relief from back pain in Delray Beach, Florida.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
Strains and Sprains
Muscles, tendons, and ligaments located throughout the entire body are susceptible to overstretching and small tears. If a muscle or tendon in the back is affected by this type of injury, it is known as a strain, whereas if a ligament is impacted, it is known as a sprain.
While strains and sprains are more likely to affect the upper back, they can certainly occur in lower areas as well. This is most often caused by some sort of abrupt movement of these various tissues, which may result from lifting excessively heavy objects. Even small amounts of force can lead to a sprain or strain within the low back if the tissues have become too weak to handle much movement.
As we age, it is the body’s natural process to begin experiencing some gradual wear and tear. Frequently used joints are typically among the first areas affected by this wear and tear, which is known as osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis can also affect the spine, leading to significant discomfort. More specifically, the cartilage that exists between the vertebrae of the spine begins to wear down, resulting in direct contact between the vertebrae themselves. Not surprisingly, this harsh movement tends to cause a substantial amount of pain that may stem from one or several particular arthritic vertebrae along the spine.
Over time the spine can become misaligned. Issues with alignment can put considerable pressure on nearby muscles or nerves, causing mild to severe pain in the low back.
It is also quite possible for skeletal deformities to gradually develop during the person’s lifetime. Conditions such as scoliosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis fall into this category, many of which require on-going medical treatment to maintain.
Why See Our Back Pain Specialist?
Back pain expert Marcie Merson, MD spends every day working to diagnose and treat patients with back pain in Delray Beach. She and her and therapists collaborate to design a treatment and rehabilitation plan that is customized for each patient. Through a comprehensive evaluation of your back pain, Dr. Merson can decide if non-surgical therapies or surgical methods are the best methods of treatment. As a highly trained pain management physician, she utilizes the most advanced clinical treatment methods available to help restore your spine health after an injury or manage chronic back pain.
Spinal Fusion vs. Non-Surgical Back Pain Treatment
Dr. Merson sees many patients who need back pain treatment in Delray Beach or Boca Raton but are seeking a second opinion on spinal fusion therapy. They want to know the difference between lumbar fusion versus nonsurgical treatment for chronic low back pain.
Fusion surgery is a complex procedure, and new research questions the results and success of the procedure, so it’s no wonder that people will actively seek out nonsurgical or alternative treatment methods.
“Results following fusion for chronic low back pain are unpredictable and generally not very satisfying. The major reason is the absence of a detailed description of the symptoms of patients with back pain, if present, in a motion segment of the spine. Various radiological findings have been attributed to discogenic pain, but if these radiological signs were true signs of such pain, fusion would have been very successful.” 1
Although MRI is appealing, its utility in assessing fusion remains unproven
At about the same time, research appeared out of the Netherlands saying that it was not possible, based on the current technology, to determine who spinal fusion, as a treatment for back pain, would be predictable for: “No subset of patients with chronic low back pain could be identified for whom spinal fusion is a predictable and effective treatment. Best evidence does not support the use of current tests for patient selection in clinical practice.”2 This comes right out of the pages of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery- “Although MRI is appealing, its utility in assessing fusion remains unproven.”3
Schedule a Consultation in Delray Beach, FL
If you have attempted to relieve your low back pain by resting the area, using over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, or applying ice and/or heat regularly without much success, it may be time to consider more effective low back pain treatment options. The first step should always be to uncover the root of your pain, whether it be any of the common conditions already discussed, or perhaps something more unique.
To learn more about alternative methods of treatment for low back pain, contact Dr. Merson today by calling (561) 499-7020, or requesting an appointment online by clicking here!