Features February 2008 Issue

Radiofrequency Ablation Zaps Chronic Back Pain

If youíve tried medication and physical therapy without success, this procedure may bring you longer-lasting relief.

If you have back pain, youíre not alone. Eight out of 10 people will suffer from it at some time in their lives, according to the National Institutes of Health. But while strains and injuries are common culprits for temporary discomfort, arthritis of the spineís facet joints is often responsible for chronic pain. Moreover, if arthritis is the source of your back pain, you might find that medicine and physical therapy bring you no relief. If thatís the case, you might be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation. "This isnít a procedure for someone who has minor aches and pains in their back. Itís for patients with significant amounts of daily chronic pain," says Adrian Mark Zachary, DO, MPH, a staff physician in Cleveland Clinicís Center for Spine Health.

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