Lynda DeCarlo had been in pain for so long, she forgot what is was like to live without it. The constant torment had her hunched over, taking an inch or two off her height.
She knew how she got there – starting with cheerleading as a kid, severe whiplash in a car accident, years of wear and tear, and then arthritis. So, she wasn’t surprised about her chronic back pain; she just couldn’t find a physician or a treatment to help alleviate it.
A trail of orthopedists, chiropractors, and other specialists finally led her to Dr. Samyadev Datta, a pain management specialist at Holy Name. “Finally, I found someone who acknowledged what I’d been going through,” says Lynda, 71. “I finally felt understood.”
After trying non-invasive treatments including physical therapy and ablations, which are procedures to block pain signals from targeted nerves, Datta realized that Lynda needed a different treatment – something new to treat the unrelenting pain. Lynda soon became one of the first to benefit from Intracept® – a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure which targets a nerve located in the bones of the spine (vertebrae). Holy Name Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the region to offer this innovative approach to provide relief for patients suffering from chronic low back pain who are not candidates for major spinal surgery.
During the procedure, Datta advances a specialized probe into the vertebrae and uses radiofrequency energy (heat) to cauterize the nerve, rendering it unable to transmit pain signals. Intracept takes approximately 45-60 minutes and is implant-free.
“We’re proud to offer our patients with chronic back pain the latest treatment that allows them to regain their quality of life,” Datta says. “The Intracept procedure represents a shift in how we treat their pain.”
Patients typically feel relief between six and 10 weeks after the procedure, but Lynda felt better the next day. Many of the ablations also made her feel better for a day or two, so she wasn’t too excited, reserving judgement until more time had passed. Meanwhile, her neighbor noticed she was standing up straighter.
“I asked him if I was taller,” she said while laughing. “He told me he never saw me stand up straight.”
Two months after the Intracept procedure, Lynda still marvels how her daily activities are now easier. She no longer has to hold onto chairs as she walks through her house.
“I feel 20 years younger,” Lynda says. “This is amazing.”