Comprehensive Pain Management
(Formally known as Franklin Pain and Wellness and Warwick Pain)

Attleboro, MA(508) 236-8333
Franklin, MA(508) 541-0004
South Kingstown, RI (401) 234-9677
Warwick, RI(401) 352-0007

Franklin, MA • (508) 541-0004
Warwick, RI • (401) 352-0007
South Kingstown, RI • (401) 234-9677

South Kingstown Pain Center RI Blog

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Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy Treatment, What is it?

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 26, 2018
Comprehensive Pain Management - South Kingstown, RI

A radiofrequency neurotomy is a type of injection procedure used to treat facet joint pain.

Facet joints are pairs of small joints between the vertebrae in the back of the spine. The facet joints support the spine while also allowing motion in terms of bending, flexing and twisting. Each facet joint is connected to two small medial branch nerves that carry pain signals from the facet joints to the brain.

A number of spinal conditions can lead to facet joint pain, such as osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis, or from a trauma to the back, such as a car accident.

A radiofrequency neurotomy - also called radiofrequency ablation - begins with the patient laying face down on a table. The skin and tissue over the procedure site is numbed with an injection of local anesthetic.

Next, the physician uses x-ray guidance, called fluoroscopy, to direct a special radiofrequency needle alongside the medial nerves.

Often, a small amount of electrical current is carefully passed through the needle to assure it is next to the target nerve and a safe distance from other nerves. This current should briefly recreate the usual pain and cause a muscle twitch in the back.The targeted nerves will then be numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize pain.

The radiofrequency waves are introduced to heat the tip of the needle and a heat lesion is created on the nerve to disrupt the nerve's ability to send pain signals to the brain.

As with many spinal injection procedures, radiofrequency neurotomy works better for some patients than for others. It is often helpful in reducing a patient's pain enough to participate in a rehabilitation program.

For more information on Radiofrequency Neurotomy, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.


Non-Invasive Treatment for Spinal Stenosis

Joseph Coupal - Friday, October 12, 2018
Comprehensive Pain Management - Franklin, MA

There is a wide range of nonoperative treatments for spinal stenosis. The more common options include:

Exercises. A suitable program of physical therapy and exercise is a component of almost every spinal stenosis treatment program. While the spinal stenosis exercises are not a cure, it is important for patients to remain active as tolerated and not become additionally debilitated from inactivity.

The treating physician may prescribe a supervised physical therapy program. After a period of physical therapy instruction, most people can then transition to their own exercise program. The key is to start slowly, and build strength and tolerance over time.

Activity modification. Patients are usually counseled to avoid activities that worsen their spinal stenosis symptoms. For lumbar stenosis, patients are typically more comfortable while flexed forward. For example, recommended activity modification might include walking while bent over and leaning on a walker or shopping cart instead of walking upright; stationary biking (leaning forward on the handlebars) instead of walking for exercise; sitting in a recliner instead of on a straight-back chair.

Epidural injections. An injection of cortisone into the space outside the dura (the epidural space) can temporarily relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis. Some recent studies have questioned the long term efficacy of these injections, and there are some concerns about the use of corticosteroid injections for patients at risk for osteoporosis related fractures. While it is still a mainstream option offered by many physicians, as with most treatments there are both risks and benefits.

Medication. Anti-inflammatory medication (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) may be helpful in alleviating spinal stenosis symptoms. With careful use, a short term course of narcotic medication use may be helpful for severe episodes of nerve related pain. Some physicians will also prescribe muscle relaxers and nerve desensitizing medications such as gabapentin. In some instances, anti-depressant medications can also provide pain relief. Side effects from medications are always a concern. As a precaution, it is essential the patients make sure their physician and pharmacist are aware of all their medications and medication allergies.

For more information on non-invasive treatments for Spinal Stenosis, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.