HealthWatch: Breakthrough In Battling Back Pain


back-painNew Procedure Takes Just 8 Minutes To Change¬†One’s Life

If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. It’s the most common cause of job-related disability and a¬†leading contributor to missed work. In fact, Americans spend at least $50 billion each year to treat low back pain.

Now, a radiofrequency procedure using heat is burning the pain away.

Candice Bellantoni said on a scale of 1-10, her back pain was off the chart.

“Some days it was a 10-plus and even when I was taking the painkillers I could still feel it,” Bellantoni said.

When physical therapy and injections didn’t work, she knew something more drastic had to be done.

“I didn’t have a life. I couldn’t even sit the way I’m sitting now. I had to sit more to the left. It was really traumatic,” Bellantoni said.

She came to see New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell pain specialist Dr. Sudhir Diwan for a procedure called radiofrequency lesioning. It uses electrical impulses to destroy the nerves that are causing the pain.

“Those are sensory nerves. It does not have any motor function so you can afford to destroy those nerves,” Dr. Diwan said.

Here’s how it works: first doctors isolate the nerves that are causing the pain. Then, under light sedation, an electrical probe is inserted into the nerve tissue. The tip of the probe is heated and used to kill the painful nerves.

The procedure used to require several different probes, but Dr. Diwan is one of the first physicians using a new treatment where only one probe needs to be inserted.

The whole process takes only eight minutes.

“We place transversely to all those nerves coming from the sacral foramen going to the joint. And with one placement we burn all those nerves,” Dr. Diwan said.

Because the radiofrequency procedure actually destroys the nerves that are causing the pain it is considered permanent and only needs to be done one time.

“This is actually an outpatient procedure so patient does not have to stay in the hospita. After the procedure, it just take 10, 15, 20 minutes for the recovery and they go home,” Dr. Diwan said.

“After a month I had 70 percent improvement,” Bellantoni said.

She said she’s now pain free. And what a difference …

“It gave me back my life,” she said.

The radiofrequency procedure is considered safe. There is a slight risk of bleeding and infections, and some patients have muscle spasms in the first few days after treatment.

Fortunately, most cases of low back pain go away within a few days. It is considered chronic if it lasts longer than three months.

Click here for more information on this treatment.

{WCBS-TV HealthWatch/Noam Newscenter}


  1. WARNING I’ve suffered from lower back pain, sciatica and prolapsed (slipped) disks for years and have researched it in depth. Miracle cures do not exist in this game. The procedure mught take 8 minutes but writing out the check takes even shorter.