Have you ever applied a hot water bottle to an aching back? Heat treatment has always proved effective in lower back ache. This treatment delivered with needlepoint accuracy leads to dramatic improvement of a certain common type of lower back pain. Heat is a long-established method of bringing relief in lower back pain. But now researchers at the Louieville Clinic in the US have developed a high-tech way of using heat.
Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) was first developed at Stanford University, and involves delivering heat through a treatment wire into the space between the disks in the backbone. It works on a specific type of back pain called internal disk disruption (IDD), which is responsible for 40 per cent of cases. This condition is caused by shrinkage of the 'buffer' tissue between the disks, which usually happens increasingly with age. It leads to the growth of new tissue full of pain receptors and to irritation of the spinal nerves.
The IDET treatment destroys the painful tissue and is less invasive than traditional surgery for lower back pain, taking just 45 minutes to perform. In the current study, patients said their pain was reduced by around 75 per cent. They also reported a dramatic improvement in their quality of life.