Target Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for one to seek medical attention, especially lower back pain. Before you resort to surgery: Professor Shay Shabat - one of the leading spinal surgeons in Israel, discusses the current methods of treatment for back pain.
Facet Joint Injections
This method is suitable for patients with problems directly isolated to the facet joints, and not in the nerve endings or vertebrae. One of the most common pathologies of facet joints is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. In this case, a conservative approach comprising of physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication drugs is applied. The use of steroidal injections into the targeted area of joint pain is guided by fluoroscopy (live x-ray). A small amount of contrast dye is then injected into the joint area to ensure the medication reaches its targeted area only. Once confirmed, a combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory (steroids) are injected into the joint.
This minimally invasive procedure provides long-term relief (up to 2 years) to patients suffering chronic facet joint pain, especially where the use of other treatments, such as medications and physiotherapy were ineffective. The introduction of heat (generated by radio waves) is applied to specific nerve pathways that interfere with the nerves ability to transmit pain signals. A needle is used for this procedure, which is guided by fluoroscopy. The specialist ensures the needle is correctly placed, following anesthetic, pain medication is administered; the doctor cauterizes the problematic nerve ending (using the radiofrequency needle), in 70% of cases this leads to the relief of pain.
Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
In the initial stages of degenerative changes, minimally invasive surgery may be conducted. The advantages of such procedures include rapid rehabilitation, minimal trauma of spinal muscles and ligaments, as well as minimal time spent in the operating theater. One of the most innovative minimally invasive procedures is Disc-FX, applied at the initial stages of herniated discs. During the procedure, the fluid that puts pressure on the nerves is removed, followed by cauterization. After cauterization the hernia is reduced, which leads to the relief of pain. It is important to understand that minimally invasive surgery of the spine, particularly Disc-FX, is not suitable for everyone, in any case, a thorough diagnosis is required.
Do Not Rush to Go Under the Knife
Professor Shai Shabat specializes in minimally invasive spine surgeries, but despite this, he does not advise patients to rush to surgery:
"Back pain can be unbearable during an exacerbation in the acute stage. At this time, the patient thinks that they require surgery, but in fact, studies have shown that if you endure pain during the acute stage, then within a week the situation improves. Those who do not feel better within a week, notice relief within 1-2 months. In most cases, anti-inflammatory therapy is enough. "
Although, Professor Shabat also noted that: "It is not advisable to leave back pain untreated for a long period of time, as this causes prolonged pressure on the nerve endings, atrophy begins - with the result that even surgery may not provide relief."
Herzliya Medical Center adopts an individual approach to each patient. Leading orthopedic and spinal surgeons Israel are committed to seeing their patients through treatment and guiding full rehabilitative care following treatment.