Suffering from chronic back pain can interrupt your life and leave you unable to perform everyday activities. The pain specialists at KureSmart Pain Management want to help you find relief so you can get back to living your life.
What is Rhizotomy?
Rhizotomy is an effective treatment for chronic back pain that is brought on by degenerative disc disease, facet joint syndrome, and other conditions affecting the spine. During this procedure the pain causing nerve roots are destroyed using radiofrequency waves. This procedure is also used to treat neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy and is sometimes referred to as facet rhizotomy when used to treat back pain.
Primary Source of Pain: the Facet Joints
A common cause of chronic back pain is from your facet joints. These small joints are located on both sides of each vertebra in your spine. Their purpose is to connect the vertebrae together and facilitate smooth motion in your back including bending and twisting. These joints are lined with cartilage lubricated by synovial fluid that allow smooth motion as the back moves, bends and twists.
As a natural part of aging, the facet joints and the cartilage will begin to wear and tear. This will cause a dull pain over the spine in the lower back or in the back of the skull and shoulders in the neck area, depending on which facet joints are damaged. The pain can be chronic or you may periodically experience a flare-up. This deterioration can be brought on by aging, injury, obesity, poor posture or other back conditions.
Facet Rhizotomy: An Effective Treatment Option
KureSmart Pain Management offers rhizotomy to help their patients find relief from back pain. Our goal is to help each patient pin point the location that is causing the pain and reduce that pain using this minimally invasive procedure.
Your doctor will most likely attempt to help reduce your pain using a facet joint injection first. This will deliver an anesthetic and a steroid to the affected facet joint. If you feel some level of relief, then your doctor will know we are treating the correct pain source. The facet joint may deliver enough pain relief for you or the pain relief may not last very long. In this case, we will move to the facet rhizotomy.
Facet Rhizotomy: About the Procedure
Facet rhizotomy is an outpatient procedure, performed using a simple probe heated with radio waves to effectively sever the nerve root found between the facet joint and vertebral body. By doing this, we will shut off the pain signal from the joint to the brain. Your doctor will insert a needle-like tube called a cannula adjacent to the facet joint nerve that is causing your pain. They will use an x-ray to guide them towards the correct joint. Once in position, they will insert the probe through the cannula that will deliver the radiofrequency waves. Your doctor will then heat the tissue with the radio waves and destroy the joint nerve. A rhizotomy provides several months of relief from back pain before the nerve regenerates, at which time, the procedure may be repeated.