There are an unfortunate amount of issues that can be responsible for chronic back pain – but also a growing number of solutions. Spinal arthritis is one of these conditions that cause people to have intense chronic back pain, and we use the revolutionary Radiofrequency ablation to treat it.
Spinal arthritis can be classified as inflammation of the facet joints in the spine and also as the sacroiliac joints that lie between the spine and pelvis. This form of arthritis can be attributed to infections, autoimmune disorders, or other conditions, or simply just from natural wear and tear of the body. Arthritis can appear anywhere along the spine, but most sufferers report pain in the lower back and neck. There are many painful symptoms of spinal arthritis, but the most common besides back and neck pain are stiffness, loss of flexibility, a grinding feeling when moving, swelling, headaches, or numbness. The most common form of spinal arthritis is Osteoarthritis which is caused by the cartilage from the joints breaking down over time, stimulating inflammation and pain.
The strain from the cervical thoracic lumbar spine is another condition that can be associated with axial cervical thoracic spine pain and difficulty with range of motion. This is usually developed because of degeneration of the joints, but also from outside forces such as injuries from a car accident or fall. The degenerative changes usually happen in older patients, but anyone can suffer from axial back pain, including young people who have had acute injuries. This modality fortunately is very treatable and manageable, improving quality of life and making you more functional.
Although it sounds complex, there’s actually a very simple solution to treating the pain caused by spinal arthritis. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive way of reducing the nerve’s ability to transmit pain. It is an extremely safe and effective way to stop pain, and has been approved by the FDA. It’s an outpatient procedure with only 1-2 days of downtime, and we can perform it right here in our office.
An important aspect of the procedure is the Medial Branch Block (MBB), which helps your physician to diagnose the root cause of your chronic back pain in order to see if RFA will be effective. A medial branch block can be performed for the diagnosis as well as treatment of pain from the joints. The MBB involves the injection of a local anesthetic near the medial branch nerves to temporarily block the pain signal.
Dr. De La Peña will perform an MBB to decide if you’re a viable candidate for this procedure, and if so, you’ll be able to continue on to Radiofrequency ablation. After local anesthesia a special needle is injected at the site of the inflamed nerves. An electrode is then sent through the needle before a heat current is generated to warm the area to about 80 degrees Celcius in order to cauterize the pain nerves. Each injection site takes about 2-4 minutes and the procedure itself, under two hours. Once the nerves are cauterized, they are no longer able to transmit pain.
If Dr. De La Peña decides that RFA is a logical treatment for your condition, you’ll be in good company – almost 70% of patients in a clinical study reported good to excellent relief from their back pain. You can expect that relief to last anywhere from 6 months to a year, and in some cases, multiple years. Recovery time is also much less than surgical methods of reducing pain. RFA is proven to be safe and effective in helping patients ease pain and increase their mobility.
Patients who have had a variety of conditions are encouraged to apply. If you’re experiencing back pain or difficulty in range of motion from a laminectomy, you may be a great candidate. Patients feeling pain from fusions are also great candidates for this safe procedure.
Has your back pain gotten to a point of excruciating? We want to help you. Contact us today for a consultation and how we can help you feel like your best self.