If you’re dealing with chronic pain in your neck, back, or joints, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an option to consider. Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive pain management treatment that can help you get relief from a variety of chronic pain conditions.
Radiofrequency ablation works best as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other pain management strategies, such as managing stress and increasing your activity level.
The providers at Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, offer radiofrequency ablation and a number of other treatment options, which can help alleviate persistent pain, so you can feel and function better.
In this blog, we discuss how RFA works and some of the conditions it can treat.
What is radiofrequency ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment that uses heat to destroy problematic nerves that are carrying pain signals to the brain. This, in turn, reduces or eliminates the pain.
To perform the procedure, your provider first delivers a local anesthetic to the area that will be treated. Then, your provider inserts a small, hollow needle near the targeted nerve while using a live video X-ray as guidance.
Then your provider injects a numbing agent into the area. Finally, your provider sends the radiofrequency current through the needle for about 90 seconds to destroy the nerve.
It’s an outpatient procedure that typically takes less than an hour. Once the treatment is complete, it will take a few days to experience results. Patients typically notice a reduction in their pain in 10-14 days.
What can radiofrequency ablation treat?
Radiofrequency ablation is frequently used to treat chronic pain conditions, such as chronic neck pain, low-back pain, and post-spinal surgery pain. In addition, RFA is often used to treat lumbar and cervical facet pain, dorsal root ganglion pain, and trigeminal neuralgia pain.
It can also help treat pain associated with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), peripheral nerve entrapment syndrome, and joint degeneration caused by arthritis.
You may also be a good candidate for RFA if your pain has responded positively to a nerve block.
How effective is radiofrequency ablation?
The duration and effectiveness of RFA varies from person to person. Most patients report pain relief anywhere from 6-12 months. The nerves tissue can eventually grow back, and the pain can return. Fortunately, RFA is a safe and minimally invasive treatment that can be repeated when the effects wear off.
More than 70% of those considered a good candidate for RFA report pain relief following treatment. Radiofrequency ablation has few side effects, with the most common being temporary swelling and slight bruising at the treatment site.
If you have a chronic pain condition and want to see if RFA could help you, our team can give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your next steps. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Management Specialists today.