New Chronic Low Back Pain Treatment Study
According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 80% of all Americans will have low back pain at least once in their lives. As risk and claim professionals know, the top injury for workers compensation claims are strains and sprains, many of them related to lifting incidents affecting the lower back. Utilizing the results from a new study may help reduce the cost of claims for chronic low back pain.
According to a study presented in at the November 2017 annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), a majority of patients were pain free after receiving a new image-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment for low back pain and sciatica.
"The nerve root is a sensitive structure that when pinched becomes inflamed and causes pain," said lead investigator Alessandro Napoli M.D., Ph.D., an interventional radiologist at Sapienza University of Rome. "The body reacts with muscle constriction, which decreases the distance between vertebrae, and a vicious cycle is created."
The patients underwent a minimally invasive interventional radiology procedure in which, with the help of CT imaging, a needle is guided to the location of the bulging disc and nerve root. A probe is then inserted through the needle tip and delivers pulsed radiofrequency energy to the area over a 10-minute period. Even without touching the disc, the pulsation serves to resolve the herniation.
"The probe delivers a gentle electrical energy, so there's no thermal damage," Dr. Napoli said. "The results have been extraordinary. Patients have been relieved of pain and resumed their normal activities within a day."