Nearly everyone experiences lower back pain at some point. For most, the pain goes away on its own. But for 20 percent of patients, back pain lingers for a year or more. It's the second most common cause of disability in the U.S, according to the National Institutes of Health. A group of researchers from Sapienza University in Italy believe they have found a solution to at least one form of debilitating back discomfort after their tests left the majority patients free of pain. Participants in the eighty person study reported suffering from back pain for 3 months; exercise or medication didn't relieve symptoms. Their particular diagnosis was herniated disk — a sometimes painful condition where the rubbery cushion between vertebrae becomes displaced, irritating nearby nerves. The group underwent a minimally invasive procedure, CT-guided pulsed radiofrequency, in which a probe was inserted and an electrical current delivered to the area for ten minutes. "The probe delivers a gentle electrical energy, so there's no thermal damage," said Dr. Alessandro Napoli, lead author of the study. "Following this treatment, inflammation and pain go away. With relaxation of the muscles, the distance between the vertebrae returns." Of the 80 patients treated, 81 percent were pain free one year after a single 10-minute treatment session. Six patients required a second pulsed radiofrequency session. Ninety percent of the patients were able to avoid surgical treatment. “Altering the electric field changes nerve root conduction can have a long standing effect, as we see in this report," said Dr. Jacqueline Bello, chief of neuroradiology at Montefiore Medical Center, New York. But many experts say the technology used in the Italian study needs more research and radiofrequency therapy shouldn't be used on its own. “The origin of back pain is complex and for most people it resolves on its own," said Dr. Alexios Carayannopoulos Medical Director of the Comprehensive Spine Center and Division Director of Pain and Rehabilitation Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital. “Radiofreqeuncy technology should be used within a multidisciplinary paradigm in conjunction with physical therapy, yoga,