Altogether 90% of the population in the Federal Republic suffer from back pain. In many cases, the pain is chronic and often a clear cause can not be determined. However, around 30-40% of those with low-back pain who have not yet been able to find a trigger for their pain may benefit from the discovery of a new disc disease. The orthopedists call this "new discovery" "isolated disc pain", which was presented at the German Orthopedic Congress in November 2003 in Berlin.
Intervertebral disc with feelings
So far, physicians and doctors assumed that the disc may cause discomfort, but can not hurt itself because it has no own pain fibers. New research has since confirmed the existence of so-called intradiscal pain fibers, which are formed when the disc is worn and damaged.
In addition, intervertebral disc degeneration causes pain-forming hormones to be released, causing painful impulses to the brain via the spinal cord nerve tracts. Experts also see this phenomenon as an explanation for the fact that many patients, despite intervertebral disk surgery, are still not pain-free.
Diagnosis with pain medication
If back pain does not respond to conventional treatment for an extended period of time and the doctor does not detect any signs of disease if symptoms persist, this may be an indication of isolated disc pain.
Another suspicion of this diagnosis is when local anesthetics are injected to the nerve roots or vertebral joints and the pain thereafter does not improve. Then a so-called memory pain test is made, in which X-ray contrast agent is injected directly into the disc tissue. A healthy disc would not hurt in this treatment: in the case of intradiscal pain, the patient complains of sudden pain.
Therapy with microlaser
Microlaser treatment is currently the only effective treatment. This laser therapy differs from conventional laser techniques in that the fiber that guides the laser beam into the body is only 0.2 millimeters thin. The needle through which the fiber is introduced is only 0.65 millimeters thick. Thus, the microlaser is particularly tissue-friendly.
The laser fiber is pushed into the skin of the disc. The energy of the laser shrinks the disc tissue and also welds small tears in the tissue. The disc tissue is thus more stable overall. At the same time, the small nerve tracts that have grown into the tissue are interrupted and the production of the pain hormones is stopped.
During the examination, the patient lies on his side and has previously received anesthesia. The examination lasts 45-60 minutes and can be performed both outpatient and inpatient.
As a rule, patients can move well just a few days after the laser treatment, if they wear a light bodice to support. Even office work can then be resumed. The carrying and lifting of heavy loads is of course still prohibited for some time.
In any case, a specific physiotherapy after the treatment is recommended. Sports activities can usually be resumed after 3-6 weeks. The microlaser therapy is paid by the private health insurance companies. A reimbursement of costs from the statutory health insurance must be agreed before the start of treatment.