Mercy Spinal Surgeon Dr. Charles Edwards II Discusses Possible Genetic Link To Women's Back Pain

December 19, 2011
Dr. Charles Edwards - Maryland Spine Center - Baltimore

Spinal surgeon Dr. Charles Edwards II discusses back pain issue with a patient at the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy

While many people think back pain is something inherited and that there's little to be done about it, doctors say there are factors that can increase the chances of having problems.

"We can change factors that play a huge role in the development of back pain -- factors such as smoking, obesity and a lack of exercise," said Dr. Charles Edwards II with the Maryland Spine Center at Mercy.

According to Dr. Edwards, 10 to 15 percent of back pain is due to a genetic predisposition, but the vast majority of cases are related to lifestyle choices. He said there are many causes of back pain.

"The most common is the degeneration of discs in the spine. The discs are cushions -- the shock absorbers -- between the bones in the spine," Dr. Edwards said.

The good news is that 90 percent of back pain patients see improvements with anti-inflammatory drugs and lifestyle changes. He said surgery is not usually necessary.

Cheryl Wasmund began having back pain 10 years ago. She said the pain got so bad that going for a simple stroll became very difficult.

"The pain was in my back, down my leg, into my foot. Sometimes I couldn't even walk, with the left leg especially," she said.

After a decade of suffering, Wasmund went to see Dr. Edwards to find a diagnosis.

"It was scoliosis. The nerves were being pinched," he said.

Wasmund got surgery for her scoliosis and is doing much better. She said she can now lift her granddaughter.

"After the surgery, I can carry her around and it doesn't hurt. I can get down with the children and play, and just enjoy life again," she said.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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