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New Treatment For Chronic Arthritis-Related Back Pain

Date:
October 6, 2007
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
Radiofrequency ablation, where heat energy destroys or stuns the nerves of a painful joint, is a developing therapy for chronic arthritis-related back pain. In the right situation, this approach may be welcome -- though usually not permanent -- relief, according to the Mayo Clinic. The best candidates for this procedure are those who have arthritis that's primarily confined to the spinal area, and possibly the upper buttock region. In an outpatient procedure, doctors apply radiofrequency energy either continuously for one to two minutes to destroy the pain-causing nerve tissue; or in pulses to stun the nerves.

Radiofrequency ablation, where heat energy destroys or stuns the nerves of a painful joint, is a developing therapy for chronic arthritis-related back pain. In the right situation, this approach may be welcome -- though usually not permanent -- relief, according to the October issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

The best candidates for this procedure are those who have arthritis that’s primarily confined to the spinal area, and possibly the upper buttock region. In an outpatient procedure, doctors apply radiofrequency energy either continuously for one to two minutes to destroy the pain-causing nerve tissue; or in pulses to stun the nerves.

The majority of people who opt for continuous radiofrequency treatment experience a greater than 50 percent pain reduction. The relief lasts an average of six to nine months. It’s not clear why pain often returns, but doctors suspect that the nerves reconnect over time. The procedure can be repeated. However, patients may experience diminishing benefits with repeated treatments.

Pulsed radiofrequency may be as effective in pain relief as the continuous method, but the relief generally does not last as long. In theory, since the tissue is stunned and not destroyed, the pulsed treatment is safer and not expected to offer diminishing returns when repeated.

Definitive research has not accurately quantified success rates. But for patients with arthritis-related back pain that hasn’t responded to other treatments, radiofrequency ablation is an option.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mayo Clinic. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "New Treatment For Chronic Arthritis-Related Back Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005153509.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2007, October 6). New Treatment For Chronic Arthritis-Related Back Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005153509.htm
Mayo Clinic. "New Treatment For Chronic Arthritis-Related Back Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005153509.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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