More than 72 million U.S. adults report having chronic low back pain – greater than arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease – but 78 percent don’t know an enlarged ligament may be the cause, according to a new “Mobility Matters: Low Back Pain in America” landmark survey by Harris Poll.
The first-ever Mobility Index was established as a result of this survey to demonstrate how people should be moving through their 50s, 60s, and 70s without chronic low back pain. If people are not at the level of mobility suggested for their age, this data encourages them to find a spine health doctor and have a conversation to identify the cause of their lack of mobility, as it could be lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) and an enlarged ligament that is holding them back.
This month, the “Know Your Back Story” national health awareness campaign and the #LookForTheLigament Education and Experiential mobile unit toured the East Coast, making final stops in Sarasota, West Palm Beach and Miami to educate and encourage Floridians with chronic low back pain and their physicians to learn more about their “back story,” the possible causes, LSS, screening, the importance of looking for the enlarged ligament on imaging, and potential treatment options.
LSS is a condition in which the lower spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerves in the lower back. Up to 85 percent of spinal canal narrowing is caused by an enlarged ligament.
People with LSS typically experience a variety of symptoms that affect their daily life, including low back and leg pain and limited mobility, and often feel pain, numbness, tingling, or heaviness when standing or walking that is relieved by sitting, bending forward, or sleeping curled in the fetal position.
In each city, campaign sponsors Vertos Medical, the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN), and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW), assembled a team of local area spine health doctors and patients to participate in the educational exhibit and panel discussions.
“Conservative treatments such as physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, and epidural steroid injections, are usually the first line of defense against back pain,” said Dr. Lindsay Shroyer, a board-certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine at Ramos Center Interventional & Functional Pain Medicine in Bradenton. “Should pain still persist, it could be time to consider minimally invasive treatment options such as the mild procedure.”
A Bradenton resident and a patient of Shroyer was on-hand to share her experience with the procedure. A retired middle school teacher, she met Shroyer in 2015 after being in agony for over one year. She had transforaminal injections and several facet joint ablations and then had lumbar injections, but no relief. Over time, her mobility decreased, and she was walking with a cane. Shroyer ordered an MRI and found an enlarged ligament was the cause of her pain and, in 2020, she had the procedure and hasn’t needed anything else since. She no longer has pain in her leg or back and can walk without an issue.
Dr. David Roufaile, a Pain Medicine Anesthesiology Specialist at Advanced Pain & Management Wellness Center in Jupiter said during the West Palm Beach stop that learned about the mild Procedure while he was in his fellowship training in New York City. “LSS is primarily a degenerative, age-related narrowing of the lower spinal canal that causes a variety of symptoms of pain and numbness in the lower back, legs, or buttocks,” said Roufaile. “While generally found in people over the age of 50, the likelihood of developing LSS increases with age.”
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