Pain relief for back pain by treating spinal nerve with heat

October 7, 2022
Physicians from UT Southwestern Medical Centre (UT Southwestern) have successfully addressed persistent lower back pain in a number of patients by using heat to carefully numb the nerves in the affected vertebra, which effectively cuts off pain signals. Intercept, developed by medical firm Relievant Medsystems, is a minimally-invasive procedure using radio-frequency ablation to tackle chronic lower back pain. It involves applying heat to the basivertebral nerve, which runs through the vertebral discs, bone, and cartilage that make up the spine.| Pain relief. Health Care Asia Home Pain relief - Health Care Asia

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Pain relief for back pain by treating spinal nerve with heat

Physicians from UT Southwestern Medical Centre (UT Southwestern) have successfully addressed persistent lower back pain in a number of patients by using heat to carefully numb the nerves in the affected vertebra, which effectively cuts off pain signals.

Intracept, developed by medical firm Relievant Medsystems, is a minimally-invasive procedure using radio-frequency ablation to tackle chronic lower back pain. It involves applying heat to the basivertebral nerve, which runs through the vertebral discs, bone, and cartilage that make up the spine.

Relievant Medsystems said the long-lasting relief offered by Intracept is a result of the unique nature of the basivertebral nerve which, unlike other nerves, has no ability to regain its pain-transmitting abilities.

The Intracept procedure makes use of a small probe inserted into the lower back and on to the impacted vertebra. Heating up the basivertebral nerve prevents it from relaying pain signals to the spinal cord and onward to the brain – the whole procedure can be done in about an hour.

The technology received US-FDA clearance back in 2016 and has shown promise in a series of clinical trials.

One trial, involving 140 patients found 31% of them were pain-free 24 months after the treatment; a second trial involving 48 patients saw 69% of them report a 50% reduction in pain, and 38% of them reported being entirely pain-free after 12 months.

“Before this treatment was available, it was a challenge to provide a solid treatment option for my patients who suffered from chronic back pain from degenerative endplates,” said Ankit Patel, Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, UT Southwestern.

“Basivertebral nerve ablation is a unique and promising intervention that I am excited to offer to many of my patients. Intracept can help my patients to obtain a better quality of life, reduce use of pain medications, and avoid corrective spine surgery.”

Patel and his colleagues plan to carry out further research on the technique as they implement it to improve its ability to relieve back pain in chronic sufferers.

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