Could Radiofrequency Ablation Remedy Your Chronic Back Pain?

A nagging backache makes everything you do more difficult. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, you can’t bend, and you can’t reach. If you’re one of the 80% of adults who experience back pain, you know that there’s nothing more important than stopping it so you can function normally again. And, if you’re like most of them, you’ve gone through the gamut of treatments that start with stretches and ice packs and progress to medications and steroid injections. For some, these approaches can bring a measure of relief. But for those who remain in pain, surgery seems to be the only option.

But wait. There’s one more treatment to try before you go under the knife: radiofrequency ablation.

Our expert team at Apollo Pain Management, in Sun City Center, Florida, understands pain intimately. Inspired by our lead physician, who served 15 years with the U.S Army, including two tours in Iraq, and has seen and treated some of the most intense pain imaginable, we treat every patient personally and compassionately. When it comes to chronic back pain, we help many of our patients avoid surgery altogether with minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation

Understanding pain

Before you ever feel pain, your body performs some extraordinary acts. It all starts in your nervous system — your spinal cord and your brain.

If you step on a tack, the sensory nerves in your foot send signals to your spinal cord, your body’s main hub of managerial nerves, and from there, the message gets sent to your brain, which registers the pain, then sends a message back through the chain to make you react to the pain by pulling away from the source. These complex transmissions occur in a fraction of a second. 

When you have pain that won’t stop, such as the chronic nagging backache that keeps you from moving freely, the only way to relieve it is to stop your nerves from sending pain messages to your brain.

Why do I have back pain?

Back pain is caused by several conditions, including spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine), herniated discs, bone spurs, spondylosis, and arthritis, to name a few. In each case, inflammation and rubbing bones compress your nerves and cause pain.

The first course of treatment, of course, is to reduce inflammation (medications, rest, and ice) and increase lubrication and decrease pain (injections) in joints. If those attempts have been unsuccessful, many doctors and patients opt for surgery to alleviate the root cause. However, we prefer to keep surgery as a last resort and favor radiofrequency ablation for many of our patients.

How is radiofrequency ablation different from other treatments?

Instead of trying to quell the swelling and help buffer your joints from the things that are causing you pain, radiofrequency ablation simply deadens the nerves that are sending those pain messages, so your brain never gets the memo and you don’t feel pain.

To find out if radiofrequency ablation will work for you, we give you a test run. Using a nerve block that numbs certain nerves, we can tell if the procedure will be effective for you and which nerves he needs to target with the ablation process. 

Once it’s been determined that you’re a good candidate, we use an X-ray to guide a very thin needle into the area where you feel pain. We then deliver a radiofrequency current through the needle, which ablates, or burns, the nerve. If more than one nerve is the culprit in your chronic pain, we can treat all the nerves involved. 

Does radiofrequency ablation hurt?

We numb your skin before inserting the tiny needle and inject a local anesthetic into the target area before triggering the radiofrequency current, so you won’t feel pain in order to relieve pain. Most people report a warming sensation and a feeling of slight pressure, but not pain.

If you have chronic back pain and have been told you need surgery, you may have a nonsurgical option. Call our team at Apollo Pain Management today to set up a consultation, or use our convenient online booking tool to request an appointment, and find out if radiofrequency ablation may be the answer to your pain. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Causes of Severe Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is debilitating. You want relief now. You also want answers. What’s causing this severe pain? How can doctors provide the solution you need?

Epidurals Aren’t Just for Pregnancy

Your back pain is unremitting. It may radiate down one or both legs. You just want it to stop. Learn about a minimally invasive treatment that can help: the epidural steroid injection.