Medical Treatments for Back Pain
Dr. Grubbs and his team of doctors at Sarasota Interventional Radiology play a critical role in developing new minimally invasive techniques for treatment of pain. SIR is revolutionizing modern healthcare by changing the way many conditions are treated.
At Sarasota Interventional Radiology located conveniently in Sarasota and Manatee area, we understand how difficult living with pain can be. That’s why our philosophy is to treat the whole person and to include family in every step of the process, from providing critical information to maximizing patient comfort during and after treatment for pain. We try to accommodate any special needs and will inform the patient of special preparations prior to treatment.
Back Pain – Herniated Disc – Pinched Nerve – Disc Pain
Here are some important facts about back pain:
- Two primary causes of back pain are pinched nerves and disc pain.
- 98% of lower back pain is the result of a pinched or irritated nerve in the back.
- Every year 15 million doctor office visits are made for lower back pain.
- More people age 45 and under visit their doctor for lower back pain than for any other ailment.
Herniated Disc/Pinched Nerve
With a herniated disc, the disc itself is not painful, but rather the leakage from the disc is pinching or irritating a nerve. The resulting pain is referred to as radiculopathy, or pain that radiates from the affected nerve to other parts of the body. Pain from a pinched nerve in the lower back that radiates down the leg is often referred to as sciatica.
In the past, treatment for a herniated disc meant rest, pain medications, injections, and physical therapy. For those who did not respond to these treatments, surgery—and a long, difficult recovery—was the only alternative. But now, a new breakthrough interventional radiology technique called Plasma Disc Decompression provides an option when conservative treatments have not been successful, and the patient is not yet ready for surgery.
With a degenerated disc that causes low back or leg pain, the disc space itself is the source of pain. This is commonly referred to as axial pain.
"My experience at your facility left me very favorably inclined toward your operation. I would like to especially express appreciation for those who do the basic chores so essential to any complex process; their cheerful and vigilant contributions make it all a positive experience."
William G, Sarasota, Fl
Low Back Pain: Spinal Fracture – Disc Decompression - Sacroiliac Pain
Along with pinched nerves and disc pain, spinal fractures may result in considerable discomfort and pain. Spinal fractures are often caused by osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones that may also lead to curvature of the spine. In the past, those with osteoporosis either lived with the curvature, called “widow’s back,” or had difficult, often painful surgery. Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty are procedures that offer safe, pain-free alternatives to surgery or a lifetime of suffering.
The spine is made up of a series of bones, or vertebrae, connected by discs. These discs have a strong outer surface called the annulus and a soft, gel-like center called the pulposus. If the outer layer is damaged or weakened by age, the gel of the pulposus can leak. This is referred to as a slipped or herniated disc, and it can press on nerves causing pain, numbness, tinkling, or weakness in the in the leg and/or arm, as well as the neck and/or arm.
For those with herniated discs who have not responded to conventional treatment that includes meds, rest, injections and/or physical therapy but are not ready for surgery, Plasma Disc Compression (PDD) offers a safe and effective alternative. However, this procedure is not for those with spinal fractures or degenerative disc disease.
During this procedure, a needle is placed into the disc using state-of-the-art CT imaging for guidance. A device is then inserted through the needle and into the center of the disc where excess tissue is removed. This reduces the pressure on the vertebrae, which in turn eases pressure and reduces pain. Plasma Disc Compression is extremely safe, with few risks or complications. To accelerate healing of the herniated or bulging disc, PDD can be combined with Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cell procedures.
Sacroiliac (SI) Pain
The sacroiliac pain or SI are located next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip on both the left and right sides. Inflammation or dysfunction of these joints is responsible for an estimated 15-20% of chronic low back pain. Historically, the treatment of SI joint pain has been one of the most challenging conditions to treat. Recently, however, several treatments have proven to be effective in reducing this type of pain.
SI Joint Injections—Injections are performed for either diagnostic or therapeutic purposes, or they may be both simultaneously diagnostic and therapeutic in nature. Using fluoroscopy for guidance, contrast is injected into the joint to ensure proper needle placement and insertion of a numbing medication. Following the procedure, the patient is asked to perform some normal activities to determine if the pain persists. If the pain is significantly diminished, the diagnosis is confirmed that the SI joint is the source of the problem. The patient may undergo additional injections and/or be referred to physical therapy to promote further pain reduction.
Sinergy™ Cooled Radiofrequency (RF)—This procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that uses cooled RF energy to target the nerves causing chronic pain. Circulation of water through the Sinergy ™ device while heating the nerve tissue enables the physician to create a large-volume treatment area. Patients may experience relief for up to 24 months with improved physical function and reduced use of medications.