Dr. Rodolfo Gari Talks What a Rhizotomy Is and How It Can Relieve Joint Pain

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Interviewer: People who are in pain oftentimes don’t go to the doctor because they fear the worst. We all sometimes feel like that, right? But some pain can actually be treated without surgery. Dr. Rudy Gari from Florida Pain Relief Group is back to tell us more. And good to see you, doctor.

Dr. Gari: Good seeing you.

Interviewer: And specifically, we’re talking about something called a rhizotomy. Now, what is a rhizotomy and what does it do?

Dr. Gari: Certainly. So a rhizotomy, basically, what we’re doing is we’re finding ways to deaden the nerves in a permanent way. There are tiny little nerves that give sensation to your joints, and they’re just purely sensory nerve. They don’t do anything else other than just cause you to have pain if you have some sort of inflammatory process, which can happen a lot. So, people, if they have some sort of a chronic inflammatory process through the joints, those nerves are constantly reminding them. What we do is we first make sure that that’s the cause of the pain, and once we’ve diagnosed that, we do something that’s called rhizotomy. And what that does is, we place these needles right into those tiny little nerves. The needle tip heats up and it burns those little nerves off, and that relief can last several months, sometimes up to a year.

Interviewer: So it’s not a permanent relief but it is something that will give you relief for, like you said, a certain amount of time.

Dr. Gari: Yes. Unfortunately, a lot of those tiny little nerves tend to grow back, but I’ve had people who’ve had relief for over a year. And if you have pain on a daily basis, that’s a lifetime.

Interviewer: Yeah, no kidding. And it’s not too much trouble, then, to just come back when the pain flares up again, too?

Dr. Gari: Absolutely. We can repeat this. And the nice thing about it is that this is done through a needle, so we’re not cutting skin, it’s not a permanent operation and it’s a relatively benign procedure. We have a lot of safety measures in check.

Interviewer: So does it hurt at all? You mentioned needle. That’s the first thing I think of, “How much pain is involved to get pain relief?”

Dr. Gari: Yes. No, it’s actually fairly painless. We give a local anesthetic at the skin. We then go ahead and use some intravenous sedatives. And, in fact, just this morning I had four patients that had the rhizotomy done and they went home already.

Interviewer: So what areas does this benefit, primarily? Is it the knee? Is it the shoulder? Can it be any joint?

Dr. Gari: Well, the rhizotomy can occur in just about anywhere. The most common places happens to be at the neck and the lower back. The reason for that, most of the bending takes place at your neck and lower back, so that’s where a lot of the trauma and a lot of the pain comes from.

Interviewer: Now, what makes this kind of a good idea to do as a procedure to relieve the pain, as opposed to other treatments?

Dr. Gari: Well, what happens is, there’s not a whole lot of treatments that are available when you have chronic pain of your joints, for example. It’s usually medications, and those medications have significant side effects. Anti-inflammatories can cause an ulcer, can cause bleeding. You have opioids. We all know about the problems with opiate addiction. So this is an alternative to you having to take medications. Medications are not benign. They’re not mean to be taken on a long-term basis, but people have to take them that way. This is an option so that you don’t have to take these medications long-term.

Interviewer: You know, it’s funny you mentioned that because I know so many people who have their elderly parents actually hooked on opiates, and they don’t even know it. Because that’s what they’re prescribed, that’s what they take. So this is something that’s so much healthier and so much better for you.

Dr. Gari: Absolutely. I had an 81-year-old female today, a very nice lady, that was taking a lot of medications. And the problem with that, if they get a little bit groggy, and they fall and they break a hip, that can be lethal.

Interviewer: Absolutely. All right, Dr. Gari, great information. Now, Florida Pain Relief Group even schedules same-day appointments. Be sure to visit their website, floridapainreliefgroup.com, or give them a call, 844-KICK-PAIN. Simple as that. We’ll be right back.

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