Over 80 percent of the population will suffer from back pain over the course of their lifetime. Many patients suffer from severe, chronic, lower back pain. They often look for relief beyond physical therapy and medications. Fortunately, there are several advanced treatments for chronic back pain which will help all patients relieve their pain and achieve a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Nikesh Seth, an experienced pain management physician and anesthesiologist, examines these groundbreaking techniques and relates how they can help patients with lower back pain.
Epidurals are best-known for their use during childbirth. However, epidurals can be an effective and long-lasting means of pain relief for the lower back as well. During an epidural steroid injection or ESI, a steroid medication is injected directly into the spinal column in the lower back. This treatment can be very effective for patients with chronic pain, especially during acute episodes.
The ESI is a better treatment than oral painkillers or steroids because the medication is delivered directly to the source of the pain, or very close to it. This means that the patient has fewer side effects and will receive prompt relief from the pain. Pain relief specialists and anesthesiologists are qualified to deliver these injections.
Pain relief from an ESI can persist from one week up to one year. Most importantly, using the ESI may help the patient regain enough range of motion to engage in a beneficial program of physical therapy and exercise. If the initial treatment works, the patient may receive up to three injections per year. This method of back pain control can also be used with other types of treatment to produce a longer-lasting result.
Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is another advanced technique for the treatment of lower back pain. The procedure is also known as a rhizotomy. During RFA, nerves in the lower back are disrupted using radio waves which produce a small amount of heat. This means that pain signals cannot pass through the nerves. Low-frequency radio frequencies do not stimulate the nerves or heart muscle, meaning that they can be used without resorting to general anesthetic. It is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure, with a local anesthetic or a system of mild conscious sedation.
During the procedure, injections of local anesthetic are used to determine which nerves are causing the problem. The RFA ablation is then performed on these nerves. This means that targeted pain relief is possible.
This pain relief procedure produces temporary results, mostly lasting between 3 to 15 months. This procedure can be repeated for use in the future. Patients who have received RFA are less likely to need pain medication. The system works well with methods like physical therapy.
Most patients tolerate RFA treatment very well. It is a highly effective procedure but may not work for everyone. Some experimentation with pain relief methods may be necessary in order to find the right method.
Advanced Techniques for Pain Relief
These highly advanced techniques enable physicians like Dr. Nikesh Seth to provide long-lasting lower back pain relief for their patients. These techniques are constantly being improved upon, meaning that they will last longer and have more significant effects.
Patients’ who become dependent on strong pain medications will be lessened, and patients will be able to live independently. When more patients use these non-surgical pain relief methods, they may not run the risk of relying on opioid pain medications. When patients have chronic lower back pain, they should talk to their physicians and ask whether one of these advanced techniques are right for them.