I'm going to have a heat treatment to a bad disc in my back. It's supposed to be a stop-gap measure before surgery. What should I expect after the procedure?
Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy or IDET is a heat treatment for patients with lumbar disc annular disease. Most often, they have not done well with conservative care such as pain relievers, activity modification, or exercise.

The disc is made up of two distinct parts. The central core or nucleus is a soft but supportive cushion. The outer, fibrous covering is strong protection for the nucleus.

Annular disc disease refers to a breakdown of the outer covering of the disc. Age, overuse, and injury can lead to cracks called fissures in the annulus. If the fissure extends into the nucleus, then material from inside the nucleus seeps out.

These substances can cause nerves to grow causing painful discs. Repeated damage and repair to the torn annular tissue sets up a cycle of inflammation and nerve in-growth.

IDET applies heat to these areas destroying the new nerve tissue and stopping the inflammatory response. The result can be pain relief. With pain relief often comes improved function and increased activity levels. The results may not be immediately observed. Sometimes there is a two-week lag in treatment to response.

Seventy-five per cent of patients report improved health and quality of life as a result of IDET. Physical therapy may be recommended to begin four to six weeks after the IDET treatment. The therapist can help you regain motion, strength, and spinal stability.