Patient's Husband urges friends and family to see Dr. Tollestrup who helped his wife overcome chronic nerve pain

Low Back Pain Eliminated by Surgically Removing Damaged Nerves

I want to share the story of a patient suffering from low back pain for more than 20 years. His story is applicable to many people dealing with low back pain still searching for relief.

In this particular case, the patient’s low back pain is alleviated when he is sitting or lying down. As soon as he would stand or start walking, he would start experiencing severe low back pain. This low back pain prevents him from walking long distances at a time.

Interestingly, the patient notes that the pain is always located on either side of the spine rather than directly over the spine.

Failed Back Surgeries

Over the years, this patient underwent two separate spinal decompression procedures at different levels in the lumbar spine. Neither surgery gave him any relief.

Luckily, this patient came to see me. After giving him a comprehensive peripheral nerve evaluation, I knew the cause of his long-standing low back pain. My hypothesis is that the pain stems from compression of a series of small nerves on either side of the spine. These nerves are called the superior cluneal nerves.  referred the patient for a diagnostic block of these nerves. This procedure involved putting both the left and the right superior cluneal nerves to sleep by injecting local anesthetic around them. This gave the patient 95% relief from his usual low back pain for almost 10 hours.

Nerve Surgery Offers Solution

Based on the excellent block results, I surgically remove the superior cluneal nerves on both sides. These nerves are relatively unimportant, small sensory nerves, that do not affect the ability to walk or move the back muscles or leg muscle.

By the three-month post-op mark, the patient reports the following:

  •  No pain at all about 75% of the time,
  • The other 25 % of the time, some low back pain when walking but instead of the 8/10 level it had been before, it would be down around a 2-3/10 level.

The difference was life-changing.

Physical therapy may help this patient to further improve. His core muscles are weak due to inability to exercise for the last 20 years. Weak core muscles are a very common cause of mild to moderate low back pain that will usually resolve with exercises targeting these muscles.

If you or someone you know has persistent low back pain I might be able to help them find relief. Please fill out the form on the right or call my office at 702-666-0463.

Tim Tollestrup MD

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