Baptist Health Floyd: Minimally Invasive Back Pain Treatment
Patricia Habimana, MD, describes how minimally invasive procedures, such as radiofrequency ablation, are used to provide relief to those with severe back pain.
Minimally Invasive Back Pain Treatment Health Talks Transcript
Patricia Habimana, MD, Pain Management
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure we use to treat back pain, and specifically, back pain originating from facet joints, which are two joints on each side of the spine. They allow the bones in the spine to articulate, so that’s what allows us to stand, or bend and twist. So, the radio frequency ablation is a procedure to relieve back pain from facet joints. It’s a two-step process. First, we start with a diagnostic block, numbing the nerve that supplies the facet joint, and for that one it’s a five- to 10-minute procedure where you come in, and a needle is placed using fluoroscopy, live X-ray to see where the needle is going, and place it right around that nerve and leave numbing medicine, usually a local anesthetic. If the response is positive, meaning the back pain is significantly reduced, then we proceed to radiofrequency ablation, and that is the same procedure, except we also connect the needle to a generator, hit the tip of the needle and burn the nerve, basically lesioning the nerve to disrupt the pain transmission to that joint, and the benefit of the radio frequency ablation is to provide a longer relief. So most people, after having this procedure, will come back and say “Now, I’m able to enjoy my activities, I’m able to enjoy my hobbies, I’m able to participate in my family life and have my life back.”