back pain

Health Matters: Saying Goodbye to Back Pain

By Samuel Borsellino, M.D., FAANS

Have you ever woken up ready to tackle the day only to be greeted by a sharp twinge in your lower back that refuses to go away? If so, you are not alone. This is a scenario familiar to millions.

Back problems rank among the most common complaints patients bring to their doctors. In fact, a staggering 8% (about 16 million) of all American adults experience persistent or chronic back pain, according to a national health survey.

Behind these statistics lies a world of complexity. Through pain management, providers can work with patients to determine the best plan to limit their pain and increase their quality of life.

Chronic back pain, lasting for more than three months, can profoundly disrupt daily activities, affecting relationships, hobbies and overall well-being. This persistent discomfort not only limits physical activities, but also takes a toll on mental and emotional health, leading to a sense of loss and frustration.

It is important to address both the physical symptoms and the emotional impact of chronic back pain. Thankfully, treatment options are available.

Exploring Treatment Options
Treatment for chronic back pain can take various forms, depending on the underlying cause and severity of symptoms. Relief can come through surgical or non-surgical interventions.

Surgery, particularly focused on alleviating nerve pain caused by narrowing around the nerve roots, may be considered for those eligible. Surgery for pinched nerves includes cutting away bone or disc, or both, to make a bigger hole for the nerve. If there is no significant narrowing of the nerve roots, surgery typically is not an option, but non-surgical options might be available.

Non-surgical approaches, such as spinal injections, offer an alternative for patients who either are not suitable candidates for surgery or prefer to avoid it.

These injections provide temporary relief by targeting acute back pain, such as disc herniation, while allowing time for the body to heal naturally. While less invasive than surgery, spinal injections may require multiple treatments, and their effectiveness varies from patient to patient.

Mercy Health – Lorain is making strategic investments to align surgical and non-surgical pain management to give patients with spine, neck, and back pain a one-stop shop to care for all aspects of their pain journey close to home.

From the addition of neuro and orthopedic surgeons and physicians specializing in non-surgical pain management to the investment in new technology to improve surgical visibility and outcomes, Mercy Health is committed to treating patients utilizing a full continuum of pain management options.

Comprehensive Care Approach
In addition to surgical and non-surgical interventions, incorporating other modalities into the treatment plan is beneficial to patients. Physical therapy, medication, and braces can play significant roles in managing chronic back pain, improving mobility, and strengthening the spine. A comprehensive approach that addresses both physical and emotional aspects of pain is key to achieving optimal outcomes and enhancing patients’ overall well-being.

back pain

Managing Expectations
Both surgical and non-surgical treatments aim to improve patients’ quality of life by reducing pain and increasing functional ability. However, it is essential to manage expectations, as neither option guarantees the complete elimination of back pain.

Even after surgery, patients may still experience residual pain. The goal is to provide patients with more pain-free days and enhance their ability to engage in daily activities.

Chronic back pain poses significant challenges for patients, impacting various aspects of their lives. As a caregiver, my goal is to provide personalized care that addresses each patient’s unique needs. By offering a range of treatment options and promoting a collaborative approach to care, I strive to empower patients to live fuller, more active lives despite the challenges posed by chronic back pain.

Dr. Samuel Borsellino

Samuel Borsellino, M.D., FAANS is board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and cares for patients at Mercy Health – Sheffield Neurosurgery. He attended Miami University, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He then went on to the Ohio State University College of Medicine, receiving an award for Medical Student of the Year. He did his residency at the Cleveland Clinic, serving as Chief Resident in his last year.


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