A system now offered by Freeman Health System offers a new approach to lower back pain relief for those who have not been helped by other back pain procedures or have difficulty exercising.
ReActiv8’s pain relief is achieved by pushing back the major stabilizing muscles of the lower back, primarily through the use of two small wires and a small battery, said management physician Dr. Rebecca Sanders pain in Freeman.
“People who have lower back pain and have had physical therapy, may have tried medication and tried injections, and yet they continually have this cycle of severe lower back pain – this procedure can help,” he said. she declared.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lower back pain causes more disability worldwide than any other condition.
According to a recent survey, more than 72.3 million American adults suffer from chronic low back pain. That’s more people suffering from a debilitating impact on quality of life than those suffering from arthritis, diabetes or even heart disease.
Most lower back pain can be treated with exercise, medication, or injections of anti-inflammatories, avoiding ReActiv8 altogether. For some people, however, lower back pain can be debilitating despite long-standing treatments. That’s when Sanders will perform an exam to see if a person’s back stabilizer muscles are doing their job. She will also order a magnetic resonance image of the patient’s lower back.
“On a normal MRI, you’ll see nice gray muscle that looks healthy,” she said. For those with debilitating back pain, “their muscle has turned white, which basically means it’s dead.”
For years, she says, “we saw these (pictures of white muscles) and we didn’t even have a treatment for it, so we really didn’t treat it,” meaning they prescribed temporary measures such as exercises, painkillers and needle sticks. . “People with chronic pain just became less active, they didn’t walk as much, and they just gave up on activities and fun,” she said.
To regrow lower back muscles, “we put this little electrode, right on the nerve, and program it to where the patient turns it on for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening,” Sanders said. .
“Let’s say someone has a bad episode of back pain, and so the brain tells that muscle to protect itself and to stop working, so the signal stops from the brain. And then, without this signal, the muscle simply dies.
So what they do “is put that signal back in there, and it pushes back,” she said. “Isn’t that great? »
On the MRI, “you’ll see this flabby white muscle – it’s all turned to fat – and after a while of use you can see healthy muscle there.”
The process takes time, but “most patients will see pain relief in about three months.”
Even better, “studies have been done where they’ve followed people for up to three years now, and what excites me is that we’re seeing people’s relief increase every year,” she said. “It’s one of the few (procedures) where research has shown that after three years people are better than they were even a year or three months after the procedure.”
Sanders is the only physician within a 100-mile radius to make ReActiv8 available to his patients, according to officials at the Freeman Health System.
“One of the big things that motivates me in my daily practice is that I always see people that I don’t have good options for, so I’m always looking at what are the new options, what are the treatments that can reach populations of people who traditionally have not been able to successfully relieve their pain.
There is hope that this muscle regeneration function could eventually be applied to other parts of the body where aches and pains are common.
“I think that regeneration is undoubtedly one of the great axes of medical research; I think all of us, from doctors to patients…are no longer in love with Band-Aid treatments. I know there’s a lot of push for regenerative treatments, and while it’s not exactly the same technology, it’s a similar thought process,” Sanders said.