AN ADVANCED type of pain treatment is helping patients in Berkshire get their lives back together.

Karen Bartlett, 51, suffered acute problems for two years until being referred to Dr Deepak Ravindran for a course of radiofrequency denervation and has now gone eight months pain free.

She was suffering from coccydynia, or tailbone pain, which made her spine feel permanently bruised.

Karen said: "It came completely out of the blue. A lot of the time I had to stand at my desk at work because I knew if I sat down it would be painful."

After being shunted from pillar to post, Karen was referred to Dr Ravindran, consultant in anaesthesia and pain medicine at Spire Dunedin and Royal Berkshire Hospital. Radiofrequency denervation involves carefully inserting a small needle using x-rays into the nerve then using a wire to heat it. The heat either deactivates or burns the nerve away completely, depending on its location and the temperature used.

Dr Ravindran said in Karen's case, because the nerve was so near her intestine, he used a temperature of 42 degrees over two sessions to ease her discomfort.

He stressed the treatment should only be used on carefully selected patients, who have tried physiotherapy, medication and osteopathy without relief. But he added: "It can change the lives of people, it is less invasive than surgery, and can offer effective pain relief."

The treatment usually has about a 50:50 chance of working permanently, but Karen said: "He has worked wonders for me. The treatment was fully interactive, so I was under local anaesthetic. Although it was a little uncomfortable, he could show me the x-rays of what he was doing as it was going on."

Radiofrequency denervation is available through the choose and book scheme. Speak to a GP or visit