Interventional Pain Management looks beyond the standard solutions to try and find the actual source of the pain and implement a treatment plan that provides lasting results. Today we look at the advantages of using a Lumbar Medial Branch Radio Frequency Ablation to determine the pain source and reduce the pain by blocking the nerve signals.
Is my low back pain due to arthritis?
There are a variety of reasons why a patient may suffer from low back pain. They may have degenerative disc disease, stenosis or narrowing of the spinal nerves or arthritic pain. Arthritic low back pain is ordinarily aching and vague pain. Typically, people feel stiff and have difficulty bending. Arthritis also can be shown on x-rays or MRI of the spine.
What is a Lumbar Medial Branch Block?
Pain information from the facet joints of the spine travel to the brain by way of small nerves called medial branch nerves. A lumbar medial branch block is a diagnostic test done under fluoroscopic guidance. Dr. Said can guide a needle to the precise location of the nerve connected to the affected or arthritic lumbar facet joint. From here a local anesthetic is injected onto the medial branch nerve to numb the area. If the patient reports good improvement following the block, then this helps to confirm that arthritis is the cause of low back pain. When a patient experiences a significant reduction in pain on the diagnostic medial branch injection, they are then considered a good candidate for a radiofrequency ablation.
What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
A Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure that uses electrical currents produced by radio waves to heat small areas of the targeted nerve tissue. RFA’s are used to disrupt nerve function so that the nerve can no longer transmit pain signals. This technique involves Dr. Said ablating, “burning” the nerve to eliminate or cut off the transmission of pain signals from the nerve. This procedure is especially useful for patients with chronic low back pain that is often caused by arthritis of the joints
What are the Benefits of this Procedure?
The benefits of using a radiofrequency ablation include avoiding surgery, immediate pain relief and little to no recovery time. Additionally, the procedure does not use steroid.
Resulting in the ability to get back to daily activities sooner!
How Long Does Pain Relief Last? Can the procedure be repeated?
While we may not be able to cure arthritis, the area generating the pain can be minimized resulting in a better quality of life. Pain relief can vary, but generally this procedure provides relief for up to one year. The procedure is covered by insurance and can be repeated every 6 months, if necessary.