Procedures such as neurotomy and radiofrequency ablation use heat, cold, chemicals, or radiofrequency energy to destroy nerves near a problem joint. This relieves symptoms by preventing pain signals from traveling to the brain.
Additional treatments for chronic pain include spinal pumps and stimulators that are implanted under the skin. A pump can put medication directly into the spinal fluid at just the right place in your spine. A spinal stimulator delivers a small electric pulse on the surface of the spinal cord to help mask pain. A percutaneous disc procedure uses a needle to remove disc tissue that is irritating a spinal nerve. A procedure of this type is also sometimes referred to as non-surgical disc decompression.
Your doctor may recommend a spinal injection to treat inflammation or ease pain. An injection can deliver medication quickly to the source of your symptoms. Common injections include:
- Trigger Point Injections - Injections into tight, irritated muscle areas (trigger points) may help the muscle relax and ease pain.
- Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injections - Injections at the SI joint, where the spine and pelvis join, can diagnose and treat pain in that area.
- Discogram - Lumbar discography is an injection technique used to evaluate patients with back pain who have not responded to extensive conservative care regimens. The most common use of discography is for surgical planning prior to a lumbar fusion.
- Radiofrequency Rhizotomy (RF) - (sometimes called neurotomy) is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease and/or eliminate pain symptoms arising from degenerative facet joints within the spine.
- Epidural steroid (cortisone) injections - Injections near specific nerves or directly into the epidural space (the area around the nerves within the spinal canal) can help diagnose and treat pain.
- Facet joint injections and nerve branch blocks - Injections in or near the facet joints can treat arthritic joint pain.