A few ideas are worth highlighting in emerging treatment options for the spine:
- A recent article in JAMA reveals that radiofrequency ablation for facet arthritis, sacroiliac joint pain, and disc degeneration does not relieve pain beyond a good exercise/physical therapy program alone. The article suggests that this insurance-covered, popular procedure should not be offered as a front-line treatment for chronic lower back pain. (Read 7/4/17 research study on Research page.)
- As traditional treatments for back pain relief continue to prove disappointing, patients are turning to regenerative medicine for back pain relief. There have been a few studies recently supporting PRP for facet joint arthritis, intradiscal PRP and cellular therapies for disc disease, and a prolotherapy injection approach using PRP (injecting the supporting ligaments and facets on the outside of the spine) for a safer approach to back pain related to a herniated disc. (Research page)
- Fascia, the newest “named” organ system, has been in the news. For a video overview of this fascinating tissue, here’s a link–suggested to me by a dear patient and friend. I have personally been on a quest for visualizing this tissue and using ultrasound to diagnose and treat tears and other tissue dysfunction. Our evolving understanding of fascia may help explain many of the pain issues previously invisible through MRI and X-ray diagnostics.