“Oh my aching back!” It appears more people are saying it now more than ever before. “That’s probably the most common thing if you look oat the prevalence in terms of who’s coming in, what’s the most common thing they are complaining about mostly in the pain clinic. We see back pain,” says Dr. Adam Shuster, a pain management physician on the Lee Memorial Health System medical staff.
He sees pain in both older and younger patients. The reasons are two-fold.
“One is the aging population is growing at a larger rate than the other populations. These are people that work. These are people that want to remain active and they’re more prone to diseases processes as well.”
Along with age, comes weight. “Certainly when you’re carrying around more weight, it can be harder on your knees, harder on your back, and we are seeing some people in the clinic who are in their 30s who are already having some advanced disease in their spine.”
Dr. Shuster also uses a two-fold approach to help patients deal with their back pain. “In terms of back pain there’s a couple of different routes you can go. I tell this to most of my patients. Option #1 is you don’t have to do anything. You can just go along with your life as it is and let Mother Nature takes its course,” he says. “Option #2 is a conservative treatment. That’s where I come in as a pain physician. That includes physical therapy sometimes. Medications - and not just one kind of medication but a variety of medications.”
Dr. Shuster adds that treating back pain early is the key to overcoming it. 80% of patients usually see positive results in just 6 weeks.