ROCHELLE, IL—Rochelle Community Hospital announced today it is among the first in the region to offer an innovative approach to provide relief for patients suffering from chronic low back pain (CLBP). 

The treatment is the Intracept® Procedure – a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure which targets a nerve located in the bones of the spine (vertebrae). During the procedure, Dr. Azhar Kothawala advances a specialized probe into the vertebrae and uses radiofrequency energy (heat) to disable the nerve, rendering it unable to transmit pain signals. Intracept takes approximately 60-90 minutes and is implant-free.

The Intracept Procedure is supported by multiple clinical studies, including two Level 1 randomized controlled trials and five-year data showing patient outcomes last long-term. Key findings include:

  • Statistically significant improvements in function and pain vs sham and standard care
  • Improvements post-procedure are durable, lasting more than five years post-treatment
  • Significant decrease in the number of patients using opioids or injections long-term
  • Nearly 80% of patients indicated they would have the procedure again for the same condition.

Dr. Kothawala shared, “Many people don’t realize that Rochelle Community Hospital offers a variety of cutting edge, minimally-invasive, outpatient treatments to help with pain control–the same ones that are offered at offices in larger cities and university hospitals. For example, other than major fusion spine surgery, we’ve never had anything to offer patients suffering from this particular type of debilitating chronic low back pain that have failed conservative therapy. With the Intracept Procedure, we are embarking on a paradigm shift in how we treat chronic low back pain. The significant improvement in pain and function demonstrated by the Intracept Procedure provides clear proof of the effectiveness of this treatment.”

The indicated patient for the Intracept Procedure has chronic low back pain of at least six months duration, has not responded to at least six months of conservative care, and presents with degenerative endplate changes consistent with Type 1 or Type 2 Modic changes at L3 through S1 on an MRI.

Rochelle-area residents interested in learning more about the Intracept Procedure can visit or call 815-397-8400. A primary care referral is required.