To call lower back pain common is putting it very mildly — the problem affects nearly one-quarter of the adult population around the world. Given this high prevalence, it’s little wonder that medical experts around the globe are working diligently on finding meaningful solutions for back pain, with great success.
A good example of this is an emerging technology that’s making meaningful headway in relieving lower back pain and disability — restorative neuromodulation.
Here at our practice, leading neurosurgeon, Dr. Ali H. Mesiwala, and our experienced team have been at the forefront of neuromodulation technologies that are solving some difficult lower back pain problems. From spinal cord stimulation to regenerative neuromodulation, we’re garnering great results using these minimally invasive, drug-free approaches for tackling chronic back pain.
Here, we take a look at how we can restore pain-free movement through muscle regeneration using restorative neuromodulation.
While your lumbar spine provides foundational support for your lower back (and your entire body), the structure hardly works alone. A key feature of a healthy and strong back are strong muscles that support and stabilize your spine.
The goal of restorative neuromodulation is quite simple — beef up these stabilizing muscles so that your spine enjoys better support and is less prone to painful nerve compression issues. Not to mention, by regenerating muscle fibers in your lower back, we can also help fight against muscle strain.
When your lower back is in pain, doing exercises to strengthen the muscles in your lower back can be difficult, to say the least. As well, targeting smaller muscle groups deeper in your body can be problematic.
With restorative neuromodulation, we get past these hurdles by surgically implanting a device that can regenerate and strengthen the stabilizing muscles along your spine. This device includes a pulse generator, which powers two leads that emit electrical impulses. These mild impulses cause minute contractions in your multifidus muscle (a muscle located near your lower back).
In turn, these painless contractions help strengthen the muscles and generate new muscle fibers that stabilize and support your lumbar spine.
The neuromodulation device is entirely under your control, and we work with you to figure out the best schedule for activating the unit to build muscles — typically a couple times a day.
Diagnosis for multifidus muscle atrophy is made based on a thorough history of chronic low back pain, followed by a physical exam including specific diagnostic maneuvers, and confirmation of muscle atrophy on MRI.
The surgery is then performed in the outpatient setting which allows us to implant the bilateral electrodes into the muscle. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and patients are able to go home within a couple of hours.
The first restorative neuromodulation technology — ReActiv8® — was approved only recently by the FDA in 2020. To gain FDA approval, the technology underwent a series of comprehensive trials, and we want to share some of the results here.
To wit, a study to evaluate the effectiveness of restorative neuromodulation found that at two years, “76% of participants experienced substantial, clinically meaningful improvements in pain, disability, or both.”
Given successes like these, we feel that restorative neuromodulation can play a valuable role in combating stubborn lower back pain.
Dr. Ali Mesiwala is a faculty member and researcher on the forefront of this technology and is one of the few Neurosurgeons offering this, treatment option for low back pain, on the West Coast.
If you want to explore for yourself whether restorative neuromodulation might help your lower back pain, please contact one of our offices in Newport Beach, Marina del Rey, or Rancho Cucamonga, California, to schedule a consultation.