Back pain is a common medical complaint for both women and men, affecting about 8% of all Americans. Chronic back pain can happen for lots of reasons, but often, those painful symptoms originate in the nerves in or around your spine.
Fortunately, rhizotomy was designed to target nerve issues that cause chronic back pain. But the key to achieving the best results is having a provider who’s experienced in performing the procedure.
As a top-rated pain management specialist with offices in Plano, Dallas, and Corsicana, Texas, Nina Sandhu, DO has extensive experience performing rhizotomy treatments for her patients at Magnolia Pain Associates. If you have chronic back pain, here’s how to tell if rhizotomy might be right for you.
Your spine is a series of bones, ligaments, and other tissue that “connect” to form a hollow channel called the spinal canal. This canal contains all the nerves that connect your brain to every other part of your body. Nerves exit the spine at spaces between pairs of vertebrae, then travel to other areas of your body, like your arms, legs, feet, and organs.
Sometimes, a nerve gets “pinched” or irritated near where it exits your spine. When that happens, you can wind up with persistent back pain that’s virtually impossible to relieve on your own.
Also called radiofrequency nerve ablation, rhizotomy works by temporarily “deadening” the end of the nerve that’s sending those pain signals to your brain, effectively preventing pain from happening. The treatment is very precise, which means you don’t need to worry about nerve communication between your brain and other parts of your body.
Your treatment begins with a mild sedative to keep you very relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. Once you’re relaxed, Dr. Sandhu numbs your skin with a local anesthetic and uses a special X-ray to pinpoint the nerve that’s causing pain.
Next, she inserts a special probe through a tiny incision, using the X-ray to ensure precise placement. The tip of the probe emits heat that targets the nerve ending. Once the probe is in place, Dr. Sandhu “triggers” the probe, heating the nerve ending and temporarily cauterizing it so it can’t send or receive pain signals.
Performed on an outpatient basis, the entire procedure takes about 30-60 minutes. Most patients enjoy pain relief for several months to a year, after which treatment can be repeated, if needed.
Rhizotomy is typically recommended after more conservative treatment options have failed. That includes:
If you’ve had conservative treatments that haven’t worked, then rhizotomy might be a good next step.
Before recommending a rhizotomy, Dr. Sandhu might suggest one more “step” to make sure ablation is the right choice. That step involves using a nerve block, a kind of injection made in the area near your spine to pinpoint the nerve that’s causing your pain.
A nerve block approximates the effects of a rhizotomy. If a nerve block is helpful in relieving pain, then there’s an excellent chance that a rhizotomy would be successful, too.
Don’t let back pain take a toll on your health and well-being. At Magnolia Pain Associates, Dr. Sandhu offers an array of treatment options to help you feel better. To learn more about rhizotomy and other pain management treatments, call Magnolia Pain Associates to schedule an appointment today.