Intracept Helps Patients Take Back Their Lives


The sudden debilitating pain that would shoot through Jimmie Wiggins’ back began when he was in his 40s—with no serious injury to explain the excruciating sensation. After going to several doctors and receiving injection after injection, his discomfort began to create limitations when it came to walking, bending and standing. 

After 20 years of this constant ache, Wiggins found himself in the office of Thomas Lee, M.D., in March 2021. “My doctor was retiring and had sent out a list of three potential referrals,” shares Wiggins. “Dr. Lee stood out because he was only eight minutes from my home—it was a sign.” Since he could no longer run errands, cut the grass, plant a garden, walk his dog or even drive his car, Wiggins hoped Dr. Lee had a different solution to offer.

During his appointments with Dr. Lee and based on his previous treatment courses, they were able to establish Wiggins’ potential pain generators. After thorough examination, in January 2022 Dr. Lee laid the possibility of the Intracept procedure out on the table. Using radiofrequency technology, Intracept burns the basivertebral nerve in the bone of the spine so it can no longer convey pain signals.

“Constant low back pain is extremely frustrating, as it can disrupt everything in your life: your hobbies, your sleep and your daily activities,” says Dr. Lee, medical director of the Center for Pain Treatment and Regenerative Medicine, part of the Sinai Rehabilitation Center.

Once it was determined that Wiggins qualified for Intracept — ideal candidates must have chronic low back pain for at least six months, show certain bone changes in the spine on MRI imaging and experience minimal pain reduction from medical treatment— his procedure was scheduled in March 2022 at Northwest Hospital. “I was definitely hesitant,” shares Wiggins. “But I prayed on it and knew this was a chance to get my life back.”

The outpatient procedure is performed under general anesthesia and often produces impressive results for individuals with persistent back pain. Two days after the procedure, Wiggins was up and moving around with ease. “I decided to take my dog, Chance, for a walk,” he shares. “I knew I had to get myself up and out of the house to do that. I wanted to find my limits, but instead, I just kept walking! 

”With recoveries like Wiggins’, LifeBridge Health is offering Intracept to eligible patients in hopes of helping more people who have yet to find their perfect solution for back pain.“When creating a care plan for patients, it is beneficial to have as many options as possible available at your disposal,” explains Scott E. Brown, M.D., medical director of the Sinai Rehabilitation Center at LifeBridge Health. “This procedure is another tool in our arsenal to treat lower back pain more efficiently and effectively.”

For Wiggins, Intracept was the life-changing care he had been searching for. “Everyone on Dr. Lee’s team was wonderful— they took away all my fears,” he says. “I’m a whole new person because of this.”

Learn more about the Intracept procedure here! 

Photo: Jimmie Wiggins and his dog, Chance