Understanding How Radiofrequency Ablation Works

Understanding How Radiofrequency Ablation Works

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is commonly used to treat chronic neck and back pain. RA uses a special needle that delivers radiofrequency waves to nerves that are causing pain, providing fast and lasting pain relief. 

The team at Pain Management Specialists here in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland provide individualized pain management programs utilizing advanced and cutting-edge treatment to meet the unique needs of each patient. 

Our board-certified interventional pain management physicians work closely with patients from diagnosis to creating an effective treatment program. The overall well-being of our patients is our top priority.

Radiofrequency ablation is one of the tools used to relieve pain. Keep reading to learn how this minimally invasive procedure can help you get relief from chronic neck and back pain.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to heat nerves that are transmitting pain signals. RFA is used to treat a range of chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis of the spine. 

RFA provides fast pain relief with very little or no downtime. Treatment helps you feel and function better so you can return to work and your regular daily activities. 

How is radiofrequency ablation performed?

To perform RFA your provider uses a special type of x-ray to direct a very small needle into the area causing your pain. The special x-ray enables your provider to visualize the needle in real-time on a monitor to ensure insertion into the target area. 

Patients remain awake during the procedure and can provide feedback to the provider. A low-dose sedative is often given to keep you comfortable. Once the needle is in place, numbing medication is delivered before the radiofrequency current is passed through the needle to the target nerve to disrupt pain signals. Multiple nerves can be treated at the same time.

Effective pain relief with radiofrequency ablation

Most patients are up and walking around immediately after the procedure. Your provider may monitor you for a short time before you can leave the office. Most patients are up and about, and back to their regular routine in 24 to 72 hours following the procedure. While it varies, optimal pain relief is usually experienced within 10 days of the procedure.

RA provides pain relief that can last from nine months to over 24 months. It is possible for the treated nerve to regrow. If this happens, the procedure can be repeated if necessary.

Who can benefit from RA?

RA is a viable treatment option for a range of conditions that cause chronic pain. RA is effectively used to treat the following:

In some cases, treatment with RA can help you avoid surgery. Many patients who choose RA are able to decrease the need for pain medication.

Help for chronic pain

If you’re struggling with pain, our pain management specialist can review your case and create an individualized treatment plan to help you get relief. It’s our mission to help you take action and best manage your pain so that you can do the things you enjoy. To get started, call our Rockville, or Frederick office to schedule a consultation with one of our providers. Relief from chronic pain is possible. 

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