Radiofrequency ablation is a pain management technique that uses an electrical current to heat up a small area of your nerve tissue and decrease pain signals.
The technique is especially helpful in reducing chronic lower back or neck pain as well as pain related to degeneration of your joints due to arthritis.
Before this relatively quick outpatient procedure, Dr. Singla gives you a mild sedative to make you feel drowsy and local anesthesia in the area of your spine where you’re experiencing pain.
Using fluoroscopy, a special type of X-ray, Dr. Singla directs the needle to the exact nerves designated for treatment.
An electrode is placed inside this needle, which delivers a small amount of radiofrequency current into the surrounding tissue. You may feel a slight tingling, but no pain, during the procedure.
These steps are repeated for all affected nerves, and the entire procedure lasts 60-90 minutes. Due to the sedative, you will need to arrange a ride home.
After a radiofrequency ablation treatment, refrain from participating in any strenuous activity for 24 hours. You may gradually introduce normal activities the day after your treatment; however, if you’re in too much pain, rest until you feel better.
It’s normal to have some soreness at the insertion site and muscle spasms in your back during the week following radiofrequency ablation.
Depending on the nature and severity of your pain, you may experience pain relief from radiofrequency ablation for anywhere from six months to a year. Some people find that the positive effects of ablation last even longer.
To learn more about radiofrequency ablation and whether it’s an option for your pain, call Dr. Singla or book an appointment online.