Procedures for Pain Relief

Radiofrequency Neurotomy

Radiofrequency neurotomy denervation is a technique utilising specially insulated needles placed next to the small nerves that supply the facet joint. The needles emit an energy that heats the tissues and interrupts the small sensory nerve fibres to the joint.

This results in a significant reduction or complete resolution of the pain from the joints. The procedures are performed under sedation to ensure minimal discomfort to the patient. The procedures are guided by mobile image intensifier x-ray guidance and are performed under clean antiseptic conditions. The nerves regenerate and regain their function over a period of time usually this is approximately one year.

Epidural Treatment

The epidural space surrounds the dura; a fibrous layer of tissue surrounding the spinal cord. Using this space, we can deliver medications to the intervertebral disc, the spinal cord, or to the exiting nerve roots. For this reason, this procedure is useful in treating pain originating from these locations.

Using x-ray guidance, a fine gauge or touhy needle is used to access the epidural space once the skin has been anaesthetised. Local anaesthetic and steroid is then carefully injected to conclude the procedure. This procedure can provide significant benefit and be repeated over the course of a year.

Spinal Cord Stimulation

Spinal Cord Stimulation is a technology providing stimulation of the spinal cord inside the vertebral column to reduce pain. This occurs with electrodes positioned in the epidural space in the spine that modify the pain signals travelling to the brain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation has been used in the treatment of pain since 1967. With advances in technology, there are now a number of types of stimulation available. Your pain specialist will be able to assess if this technology is appropriate for your pain management.

BackSpace (Integrated Therapies)

The BackSpace clinic integrates all the practitioners and therapists that are needed to provide complete and comprehensive care for your spinal condition. The BackSpace team consists of physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, massage therapists and spine specialists.

The clinicians all work together in a state of the art rehabilitation facility which is located in the Brisbane Private Hospital. At BackSpace you will be assessed and a treatment plan will be designed just for you, taking into account your condition, your lifestyle and your goals, and will be monitored and modified during your recovery.

Facet Joint Injections

Work related injuries unfortunately remain common, and we work closely with workcover and medicolegal practices to try to get the best outcome for injured workers.

We assess each case independently, and have access to surgical and rehabilitation expertise as well as assisting in the diagnosis and treatment of work-related pain conditions. Our aim in treating a work related injury is a return to the previous level of function and work.

Nerve blocks/ Steroid injections

Pain originating from the nervous system is termed neuropathic pain. When neuropathic pain is due to damage or compression of a particular nerve, we can target that nerve specifically using imaging techniques. Blocking the input signals from the nerve with local anaesthetic will quickly determine if the nerve is a large source of the patient’s pain.

Nerve blocks and steroid injections deliver local anaesthetic and steroid using a fine gauge needle to reduce inflammation around a nerve and provide pain relief compression over the nerve. This procedure can provide significant benefit and be repeated over the course of a year.

Intrathecal Pumps

An intrathecal pump is a battery-operated device which delivers medication directly into the spinal canal. The system uses a small pump that is surgically placed under the skin of your abdomen. The pump delivers medication through a catheter to the area around your spinal cord.

By delivering the medication via this technique, side effects of oral medication are eliminated, and symptoms can be controlled with a much smaller medicinal dose compared to the use of oral medication. The pump is programmed to meet your specific needs and can be adjusted as required with the oversight of your pain specialist.

Lignocaine Infusions

Lignocaine is a local anaesthetic used commonly to block the transmission of electrical signals in the nervous system. It is commonly used to block specific nerves or groups of nerves, but when given systemically through the blood stream can be used to treat neuropathic pain disorders.

An intravenous canula is inserted and a lignocaine infusion is delivered by an infusion pump over a designated period, ranging between 30-60 minutes. We carefully check observations before and during the infusion at regular intervals.

PRP

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) may decrease pain and enhance functional status and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis and chondropathies. In patients with symptomatic knee OA, PRP injection results in significant clinical improvements up to 6 months post injection. Preparation of PRP includes drawing of blood into a tube containing an anticoagulant. It is placed in a centrifuge to separate out the red blood cells, plasma layer and platelets. The layer containing the plasma and platelets are extracted. This is then carefully injected into the area to be treated.