If your quality of life is seriously compromised by chronic pain, you’re seeking solutions. You may have tried the familiar recommendations: medication, physical therapy, injections. If they haven’t been effective, you might be looking at surgery – but is there another, less invasive option you could try?
You may be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive procedure to ease chronic pain. Radio waves erode the nerve tissue that is the source of your pain so that your body no longer sends pain signals to your brain.
When is radiofrequency ablation appropriate?
The caring staff at Apollo Pain Management offers numerous alternatives to major surgery to resolve chronic pain. Your consultation includes a thorough review of your medical history, along with any diagnostic tests needed. If you have pain that hasn’t resolved with other treatment, you may be a good candidate for radiofrequency (RF) ablation.
RF ablation may reduce pain in the following areas that hasn’t been resolved with noninvasive methods:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
Following are some of the conditions you might have that RF ablation can help:
- Spinal arthritis
- Previous spinal surgeries leaving you with pain
- Arthritis in your joints causing pain
- Sacroiliitis — pain in the lower back and/or buttocks that moves down the legs
Advantages of radiofrequency ablation
Several advantages of RF ablation should be considered when contemplating treatment options.
Outpatient procedure — no invasive surgery
Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure performed right in the office under local anesthesia and mild sedation. You don’t sustain the risks involved with major surgery.
The majority of patients — more than 70 percent — experience real pain relief, usually from 6 to 18 months, and sometimes longer.
You’ll need to take it easy for a day or two, but other than that, there’s no significant downtime like you would have with surgery. You’ll be able to resume your normal routine quickly.
Low risk and can be repeated
RF ablation is a low-risk procedure when compared with surgery; there are very few complications, and it’s generally well tolerated by patients. And the procedure can be repeated.
During and after RF ablation
Apollo Pain Management staff perform a simple test that numbs the nerves where your pain is located. If your pain lessens in specific areas, staff targets them for RF ablation.
The ablation starts with a thin needle inserted with X-ray guidance to the target area. A microelectrode is placed inside the needle. When you feel tingling, your physician sends radiofrequency waves through the microelectrode in the needle, which heats your nerve tissue. The process ablates, or burns, the tissue and stops it from sending pain signals to the brain.
You shouldn’t drive or operate machinery for one day after RF ablation. Avoid strenuous exercise for a day. The staff provides you with written instructions. You’ll be back to your normal routine quickly, but in most cases, without the chronic pain that’s been slowing you down.
Consult with your physician, and make an appointment with Apollo Pain Management for relief of your chronic pain.