An Effective Treatment For Back Pain
Chronic back pain continues to plague millions of Americans. The unbearable pain can stop anyone from working, playing sports, or completing simple tasks. Chronic back pain usually stems from an issue with the bones or discs in the spine pressing on nearby nerves. Pinched nerves can cause pain, numbness and eventually lead to weakness. Some back pain sufferers may benefit from nerve ablation.
What’s nerve ablation?
Nerve ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that targets the nerves responsible for pain. Pain receptors send pain signals to the brain. These signals, in turn, translate into feelings of pain. Nerve ablation destroys the nerve ends and tissue that send these pain signals. The result is significantly less pain and discomfort, often for several months. A surgeon, neurologist, or skilled medical professional uses heat, cold, or chemicals for ablation.
A simple outpatient procedure
Nerve ablation can happen at either the doctor’s office or the hospital. The patient will lay flat on the stomach to give the doctor access to the spine. An X-ray technique called fluoroscopy helps the doctor pinpoint the affected nerves. Once the needle is injected in the correct location, heat, radio waves, or cryoablation removes the nerve roots. The process is repeated on adjacent nerves. Nerve ablation is an outpatient procedure that happens in about 90 minutes.
These patients can benefit from ablation
The procedure is not for everyone, but some persons can benefit significantly from the process. A good example is patients who do not respond well to non-surgical treatment. Physical therapy, medication, and steroid injections are typical treatment options. If the patient still has chronic, long-term pain despite treatment, nerve ablation can help.
Working around arthritis
Some chronic back pain is due to arthritis. The vertebrae begin to wear and tear, which can cause nerve pain. Nerve ablation is an excellent option before moving onto surgery. The surrounding nerves will restrict sending pain signals to the brain. At the same time, the patient can work on physical therapy and other non-surgical techniques to reduce pain.
An unsuccessful spinal surgery
In severe cases, surgery is necessary to finally relieve the pain. Most spinal procedures involve the fusion or the removal of damaged discs. Spinal surgery has a high success rate, but all procedures come with risks. One such risk is a failed spinal surgery. Failed surgeries happen when the patient still experiences pain and discomfort. At this point, the patient will look for an alternative solution to the pain. These patients may consider nerve ablation.
Hold your nerve against back pain
Nerve ablation is an effective procedure with a high success and satisfaction rate. The best candidates are those who have exhausted all non-surgical options for back pain. The procedure is effective but temporary. Most patients will experience relief for 6-9 months before the nerves try to grow back again. A doctor or specialist can help reduce chronic back pain. For more information, speak with a pain management specialist.