Nerve Destruction

Nerve destruction involves the surgical removal or destruction of the nerves causing back pain using two processes known as radiofrequency ablation and facet denervation. The term nerve destruction may refer to:
  1. Damage to the nerves themselves, which causes pain, muscle spasms, and weakness of the affected structures.
  2. Procedures specifically designed to destroy potions of nerves causing a patient so much back pain. The intentional destruction of nerve tissue for the purpose of pain management may also be referred to as the destruction of a nerve. Often, patient experience long periods of pain relief before the nerve slowly begins to regenerate itself.
The pain generator (the location in your body where your pain begins) may be inside side your body in a structure that has sustained an injury, or in the nerves themselves.

The nerves themselves may generate pain signals as they relay signal from a part of the body which has been damages.

A pain signals may be generated from nerves due to some type of systemic disease which causes the nerves themselves to deteriorate. Diseases that may cause degeneration to the nerves include epilepsy, Parkinson 's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. A pain signal may come from nerves when they are being pressed on by an adjacent body structure. These body structures may change their position due to soft tissue injuries, degeneration of the soft tissues, and inflammation and swelling to the tissues. Two of the most common soft tissue injuries that are responsible for compression of the spinal nerves include herniated discs and sciatica.

A pain signal may also arise from nerves despite the health of tissues in the area and the health of the nerves as well. In these cases, pain signals correctly fire off pain signals originally in response to a real injury to the tissues in the area, but then begin misfiring pain signals once the original injury has healed. In these cases, localized nerve destruction can eliminate the pain.



The original approach to performed localized nerve destruction was to sever the nerve surgically. This approach today has abandoned in favor of other methods that result in fewer complications. Complications to the approach of surgically cutting the nerves include abnormal and painful regrowth of the nerve fibers. This abnormal regrowth, called a neuroma, may in fact cause in increased level of pain over the original symptoms.

To inhibit the amount of pain experienced as a result of the nerve firing, while also minimizing complications, other surgical treatments are used. One such treatment is known as radiofrequency ablation. Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment involves treating the sensory nerves with heat in order to inhibit their effects of transmitting pain signals to the brain. Rather than severing entire nerves, radiofrequency ablation heats a small, specific volume of nerve tissue, thereby disrupting the transmission of pain signals along a specific nerve. The results of this treatment are often significant pain relief, a much smaller incidence of complications such as neuroma formation, and little trauma to the adjacent nerves and tissues. Currently radiofrequency therapy is an accepted treatment in the medical field of pain management, and one of the most common procedures performed in pain management clinics.

Radiofrequency therapy is also used to minimize the amount of pain caused by arthritic changes in the facet joints. Facet denervation is the name of procedure that involves radiofrequency ablation on the facet joints. In a facet denervation case, doctors will first identify the facet joints they think are the pain generators. During this diagnostic process, they will numb the nerves carrying the pain signals from specific facets. If the patient feels significant relief due to the anesthetic, it is a positive indication that those facets are involved in causing pain. Once specific facet joints are identified, the nerves off of these structures are then treated using radiofrequency lesioning.