Ascension Via Christi Pain Management procedure allows more time comfort for life | Ascension

Ascension Via Christi Pain Management procedure allows more time comfort for life

Kent Koehler enjoys regular rounds of golf, bike rides and officiating high school basketball games. He also enjoys traveling, road trips and attending sporting events. However, for the past eight years, he has been unable to fully enjoy these activities because of chronic lower back pain.

Kent Koehler playing golf following his pain-relieving Intracept procedure

"The pain was always there," says Kent, director of Information Technology at Ascension Via Christi. "Getting out of bed in the morning after any of these activities always came with 'swear words.'"

He turned to Brian Goentzel, MD, an interventional pain management specialist at Ascension Medical Group Via Christi, who began treating his pain with regular epidural injections.

Having determined that Kent would be an appropriate candidate, Dr. Goentel suggested that he might want to consider an outpatient procedure performed with the implant-free Intracept system.

That procedure, which targets the basivertebral nerve to block pain signals, is designed to provide another treatment option to patients like Kent, who have suffered with chronic back pain for six months or longer without relief from traditional therapy.

“I refuse to take opiates and pain pills other than over-the-counter, and epidurals were only temporarily lessening the pain, so I was cautiously optimistic that this could actually work for me," says Koehler. "I really had no other options except what I was trying to avoid."

After thoroughly discussing the procedure with Dr. Goentzel and doing some of his own research, Kent decided it might be what he needed to become fully active again.

In July, he checked in to the Kansas Surgery and Recovery Center, where Kent's procedure, done under general anesthesia, was performed in just two hours. After a brief recovery period, he returned home, where he says he rested comfortably with little pain or discomfort.

“I was surprised by how little time the procedure took," says Koehler, who was even more surprised that within a week he had the relief that he had been seeking.

"I've been riding my bike for more than two hours at a time and golfed an entire course and I had no pain," he says. "I no longer consider myself to be someone who has back problems."