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Korean J Spine Search


Radiofrequency Treatment for Chronic Low Back Pain
Jung Yul Park, M.D.
Department of Neurosurgery, Korea University Medical Center, Ansan Hospital
만성 요통에 대한 고주파 치료
고려대학교 의료원 안산병원 신경외과
Chronic low back pain is defined as pain in low back area persisting more than 6 months and it can be accompanied with radiating pain down to buttocks and legs. The patients with this type of pain should be provided with more aggressive management than conventional conservative treatments available because they suffer not only the disabling pain syndromes and substantial functional disabilities, but also they face great socioeconomic burden. The common causes of chronic low back pain seen in clinical setting are the disorders related to intervertebral disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and pain originating from zygapophysial joints and other surrounding structures. Radiofrequency (RF) treatment has a long history for the management of chronic intractable pain of various causes. With better understanding of pain mechanism and advancement of technology, a simpler and safer method of delivering RF thermocoagulation to ideal sites are now available that can be expected to provide more beneficial effects to these patients with chronic disabling pain. Here, using up-to-dated, evidence based knowledge and personal experience, author tried to introduce briefly the history and basic mechanism of RF technique and various clinical situations where this type of therapy is currently known to be indicated and effective in providing substantial pain relief in patients with low back pain. In summary, the RF thermocoagulation is proven to be effective way of providing significant pain relief in many chronic refractory pain states, especially for low back pain, with numerous advantages such as minimal invasiveness, quantifiable lesioning with termperature control, well-circumscription of lesions, simplicity and feasibility of procedure, and most of all safety and cost-effectiveness. When it is selected based on careful investigation on type and cause of pain it can be expected to provide relatively long duration of pain relief and also to help to recover functional disabilities from such pain. However, judicious use is warranted because some painful conditions are known to be ineffective from this type of therapy and because there are possible complications, although very few.
Keywords: ChronicㆍLow Back PainㆍRadiofrequencyㆍThermocoagulation

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