Published on November 19, 2019

Small Device Offers Big Relief from Back Pain

Margie Allen

             Thanks to a relatively new procedure at the North Mississippi Surgery Center, Margie Allen of the Big Creek community of Calhoun County finally has relief from back pain.

Dr. Lynn Miller

NMMC neurosurgeon Dr. Lynn Miller shows a coflex® device, a small titanium implant that can help relieve the pain caused by spinal stenosis. Coflex is a proven alternative to spinal fusion in certain cases.

TUPELO, Miss.—Margie Allen of the Big Creek community in Calhoun County suffered with lower back pain for several years before talking to her doctor.

“I had pain when walking, and I couldn’t walk very far,” Margie says. “The pain would start in my right hip and go down my right leg. I also couldn’t stand in the same spot for very long.” She mentioned it to her primary care doctor, who referred her to an orthopedist. Everyone was convinced she had bursitis and treated it as such. When initial treatments weren’t helping, Margie saw neurosurgeon Lynn Miller, M.D., with North Mississippi Neurosurgical Services in Tupelo. After an MRI, Dr. Miller diagnosed Margie with lumbar stenosis—a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by a bulging disc in her lower back.

Dr. Miller explained that neurosurgeons perform three levels of spinal stenosis surgery. “If a patient has only stenosis, meaning the ligaments are pushing on nerves and causing leg pain, then we perform a decompression procedure to create more space between the bony canals through which the spinal cord and nerves pass,” she says. “If the patient has both leg pain and back pain, then we need to use scaffolding to hold up the spine. In that case, we perform decompression and spinal fusion surgery.” In Margie’s case, Dr. Miller recommended decompression surgery followed by insertion of a small titanium coflex® device. “Coflex is a nice option because it separates the joints a little bit and adds support without using screws and rods,” Dr. Miller adds.

Allen had the procedure Aug. 5 at NMMC’s Surgery Center. “I had immediate relief,” Allen says. “When I left the Surgery Center, I had no more pain.” After a short recovery period, she was soon back to activities she had limited for years. “I have been very pleased,” Allen says. “Dr. Miller is such a wonderful doctor, so kind and personable.”

A retired teacher, Allen leads an active life with her family—helping transport and take care of her grandchildren a few days each week. Since her back procedure, she can do so pain-free. “Now I just do what I want to do!” she adds. For more information, call North Mississippi Neurosurgical Services at (662) 377-5700 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

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