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Back pain hope; New therapy brings long-term relief.

Byline: STEPHEN BEECH

A GROUNDBREAKING and minimally invasive treatment can give long-term relief from crippling back pain, studies suggest.

In a trial, 81% of patients with lower back pain and sciatica were pain-free for a year after 10 minutes of the imageguided pulsed radiofrequency therapy. Lower back pain is a common problem affecting four out of five at some point in their life and the most common cause of job-related disability.

Most is short-term but one in five hit by acute lower back pain develop chronic low back pain, lasting a year or more. A major cause is compressed and herniated discs, where the cushion between vertebrae impinges on and irritates nearby nerves. In the new technique, a needle is guided to a bulging disc using CT imaging and a probe is inserted through the tip, delivering pulsed radiofrequency energy to the affected area for 10 minutes.

Dr Alessandro Napoli, a radiologist at Sapienza University in Italy, said: "The probe delivers a gentle electrical energy, so there's no thermal damage. The results have been extraordinary. Patients have been relieved of pain and resumed normal activities within a day."

Of 80 patients treated, 81% were pain-free for a year after a single session while six required a second session.

Some 90% of the patients were able to avoid surgical treatment. None of the patients experienced side-effects.

The findings will be presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.

mirrornews@mirror.co.uk

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 30, 2017
Words:254
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