Getting to the bottom of back pain can be time-consuming and troublesome.
“The first assessment is where’s the pain coming from,” says Dr. Donna Lanthier, who is a physiatrist - bone, muscle, and nerve expert - with Lee Memorial Health System. “Is it purely muscular, that physical therapy can help? Is it a disc problem? Is it a nerve problem? Quite often it’s a combination of all three.”
Dr. Lanthier serves as the point of contact for Lee Memorial Health System’s new comprehensive Spine Center.
“Our goal is to get people functional. Quite often we can’t eliminate their pain, in some cases we can. But other times it’s more of a management,” Dr. Lanthier says.
Joining multiple specialties including physical therapy, pain management and neurology, the team-based approach is not dependent on prescription meds.
“We’ve been relying more on injections and other modalities such physical therapy to bring people out of pain on a more consistent basis without relying on drugs.” says Dr. Gene Mahaney, pain management specialist with Lee Memorial Health System.
The Spine Center offers a one-stop shop. Patients can come here, get examined, diagnosed and walk away with a treatment plan. In one day, under one roof.
“Myself, physical therapy, x-rays - are available in this building, MRIs are available here. And then if needed, they can get the injections as well,” Dr. Lanthier says.
Typically, what we’ll do is localize the pain area, find an area of pain that seems to be the generator for that patient’s specific pain and inject that with a combination of local anesthetics, steroids, other anti-inflammatories,” Dr. Mahaney says.
Combining the team approach and conservative techniques is a big step forward in liberating people from their pain.