Millions of Britons suffer the misery of back pain at some point in their lives. In the majority of cases it is caused by bad posture, lifting incorrectly or bending awkwardly and will improve within 12 weeks.

Doctors typically prescribe a combination of painkillers and either acupuncture, exercise classes or manual therapy to mask the pain.

But what if the pain doesn’t disappear or respond to treatment like pain medication and physical therapy? Chronic back pain can be a devastating condition for sufferers which impacts upon all areas of their life, in many cases preventing them from being able to work.

Consultants in pain medicine and anaesthesia Dr Naeem Ahmed and Dr Mohamed El Toukhy, who practice at South Coast Pain Services at Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital, believe that there are technological advances which can take away the pain quickly and effectively.

Dr Mohamed El Toukhy said: “It’s time to move on from steroids and acupuncture to treatments that actually work long term.”

Among its range of treatment options for patients suffering from acute and chronic pain, South Coast Pain Services offers a new treatment called Radiofrequency Ablation. The procedure provides long-lasting respite for people with chronic pain, particularly in the lower back, neck and arthritic joints. Radiofrequency ablation uses an electric current to heat up nerve tissue and disable nerves inside the vertebrae that are responsible for sending pain signals.

Dr Mohamed El Toukhy explains: “After the procedure, patients can experience relief from pain that lasts from six to 12 months to even years. It is a very useful procedure for the right people.”

To find out if the patient is eligible for the treatment, the consultants will undertake a thorough examination. Radiofrequency ablation isn’t appropriate for treating sciatica but it is suitable for resolving back pain that is worse when sitting, lifting, standing and twisting.

Once the patient has passed the selection process and is ready for treatment a local anaesthetic will be administered to numb the area and relax them. Whilst the patient is lying on an x-ray table, the consultant will locate the exact area in need of treatment and insert a thin needle. A microelectrode will then be inserted through the needle which will send a small radiofrequency current through the electrode to heat the nerve tissue.

Dr Naeem Ahmed adds: “As it is a relatively straightforward procedure, the patient will be able to return home on the same day. We will follow up with each patient two months after their treatment to make sure that they are progressing as planned and able to enjoy a pain-free, active lifestyle once again.”

  • Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital will be holding a pain management open evening on Wednesday, February 12, at 7pm, hosted by Dr Naeem Ahmed and Dr Mohamed El Toukhy. As places are limited, please call the customer service department on 01202 702830 to register interest for the event.