The Intracept procedure is a treatment option available to patients suffering from vertebrogenic pain. These patients typically experience pain in the middle of the lower back that is worse with prolonged sitting, prolonged standing, or bending forward. This pain is related to inflammation within the vertebral endplates, which are layers of cartilage and bone that separate the disc from adjacent vertebrae in the spine. When standing or sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time, these endplates can become compressed and cause pain as the vertebra are stacked on top of each other.
The endplates can also cause pain as they are pulled apart when a patient bends forward. This condition is confirmed by Modic changes seen on an MRI which indicate inflammation. The Intracept procedure uses a needle to deactivate the nerves within the inflamed endplates in a process called nerve ablation. By deactivating the nerves, the electrical transmission is interrupted producing pain relief.