Chronic Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor, second only to the common cold. At any given moment, around 31 million people are experiencing low back pain. It accounts for over 265 million lost work days per year in the United States and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
While back pain has many causes, the majority of chronic low back pain cases can be attributed to discogenic pain, which is pain that is generated from the gel-like discs that sit between the bones in the spine. Another, much overlooked but significant cause of chronic low back pain is condition known as vertebrogenic pain. Vertebrogenic pain is pain that originates or emanates from the vertebral bones or joint structures within in the spine. It is estimated that over five million people in the United States suffer from vertebrogenic pain.
What is Vertebrogenic Pain?
Within each vertebrae (bone) in the spine is a nerve called the basivertebral nerve. This basivertebral nerve branches throughout the vertebrae and extends to the bony end plates of the vertebral body. Damage or wear and tear to these vertebral end plates due to the natural course of aging or degeneration, leads to irritation of the basivertebral nerve, pain generation and in some cases the onset of chronic low back pain.
What is the Intracept® Procedure?
The Intracept® Procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for chronic vertebrogenic low back pain that targets the basivertebral nerve located within the vertebrae. Intracept® is designed to interrupt the transmission of pain signals from the vertebral bones to the brain without changing the natural structure of the spine.
How Does the Intracept® Procedure Work?
During the Intracept® Procedure, your MPC physician, under guided x-ray, will advance a specialized Intracept® probe into the vertebral body through a small incision in the lower back. Once the probe is positioned at the precise location of the basivertebral nerve, radiofrequency energy (heat) is emitted from the probe to effectively disable the nerve. This process is known as basivertebral nerve ablation. Once nerve ablation has occurred, the basivertebral nerve is no longer able to transmit pain signals to the brain. The procedure takes approximately 60-90 minutes in duration. The result is a significant improvement in pain and function.
How Do I Know If the Intracept® Procedure Is Right for Me?
If you have experienced chronic low back pain (vertebrogenic) for more than 6 months and have not received adequate relief through the usual course of conservative treatments, you may be a candidate for Intracept®. Your physician will help determine if the Intracept® Procedure may be right for you.
What is the Recovery Time for the Intracept® Procedure
The Intracept® Procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure, so the recovery period is short, often not more than a couple of days. It is an implant-free procedure and preserves the structure of the spine. There are no restrictions placed on patients afterward, and in many instances the pain relief is almost immediate. Most patients that have undergone the Intracept® Procedure have been able to resume regular activities within a week or two after the procedure.