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Beyond Nerve Burning: Revolutionary Approaches to Chronic Back Pain

By Deborah Westergaard, MD

Pain Experts

Rhizotomy, commonly known as nerve burning, has been a standard of care treatment for chronic lower back pain for decades. It involves burning the nerves to the facet joints in the lower back, temporarily halting the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Many patients experience significant relief from this procedure; however, over time, some begin to see diminishing returns. This is primarily because the treated nerves tend to regenerate, and the underlying inflammation within the facet joints remains unaddressed.

The Root Cause of Recurring Pain

The essence of the problem lies not just in the nerves but in the facet joints themselves, which become inflamed and degenerate over time. As facet joint cartilage wears down, the bones come into closer contact, sparking an inflammatory reaction. This inflammation can extend beyond the joints, affecting the neural foramina—bony tubes through which nerves exit the spine. When these passages are blocked by inflammatory debris, it compresses the nerves, leading to further pain and complications like spinal stenosis, which can affect leg function and overall mobility.

Why Traditional Rhizotomy May Fall Short

While rhizotomy effectively masks pain by interrupting nerve signals, it does not tackle the underlying inflammation or cartilage degradation. As a result, as the spine continues to degenerate, the procedure's effectiveness wanes, and the need for more definitive solutions becomes apparent.

Introducing the Regenexx Lumbar DDD Procedure: A Possible Long-term Solution

At Pain Experts, we implement the Regenexx Lumbar DDD procedure, a cutting-edge alternative designed to address the core issues of back pain. One of the procedural components associated with Lumbar DDD treatment involves injecting super-concentrated platelet-rich plasma (PRP) directly into the inflamed facet joints. Unlike rhizotomy, which temporarily disrupts pain signals, PRP treatment utilizes growth factors from your own blood to actively reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair within the joints.

What This Means for Patients and Physicians

Patients: The Lumbar DDD procedure offers a more sustainable solution to chronic back pain, potentially extending relief for months or even years. By targeting inflammation at its source, this approach not only alleviates pain but also contributes to the health and functionality of the spinal joints, enhancing overall quality of life.

Physicians: For medical professionals, the shift from traditional rhizotomy to the Lumbar DDD procedure represents an evolution in treating chronic back pain. It provides an opportunity to offer patients a treatment that not only manages symptoms more effectively but also addresses the underlying cause of their discomfort.

Explore Innovative Care with Pain Experts

If you or someone you know is experiencing diminishing returns from conventional back pain treatments, it’s time to explore more innovative and lasting solutions. Contact Pain Experts to discuss whether the Regenexx Lumbar DDD procedure could be the right approach for managing your chronic back pain. Let us help you achieve lasting relief and a return to active living.

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               Deborah Westergaard, MD

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