Newer Back Pain Treatment Alternative

RFA replaces medicine or surgery

SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) -- 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain -- including many who deal with bad backs. Now, there is help that doesn't come in a pill container or 

Back pain can be debilitating for so many of us. A Carbondale man dealing with chronic back problems found a newer alternative to treat this age-old problem.

"It was a struggle of getting through work. It was a struggle of being a dad." For the past six years, Rob Misko struggled with lower back pain. As a chef who stands on his feet all day at his job, he was desperate for relief. "I thought that nothing's going to solve it and then I had the dreaded vision of the back operation."

Instead, Geisinger Interventional Pain Management Specialist Shivang Desai, M.D. recommended a procedure called Radiofrequency Ablation or RFA for short. Using a needle and x-ray guidance, an electrical current is produced by a radio wave that tricks the nerves and stops them from transmitting pain signals to the brain. "We're basically ablating or destroying a nerve and by doing that we're doing it by essentially warming up the nerve, by burning the nerve," said Dr. Desai.

Because those nerves will eventually regenerate, Dr. Desai acknowledges RFA is not a cure-all but he said it's often key to helping get patients comfortably back to their daily routine. "Our goal is really for them to kind of get their bodies to heal on their own and by basically getting them more active and more functional, building muscle around the bones to take pressure off the bones."

In Rob's case, like so many patients, the procedure provided more than just physical benefits. It's given him a whole new mental outlook on life. "Literally it was like a miracle," he said. "I have a new chance on life to do things, to go shopping, to do things with the kids, not to be exhausted after work to continue to do the duties that I have to do as a father and that made me feel really good."

Patients like Rob typically get pain relief from RFA that can last six to 12 months and in some cases even longer. Rob says he will focus on exercising and living a healthier lifestyle to help achieve long-lasting back pain relief.


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