Can Radiofrequency Ablation Put an End to Your Back Pain?

You delay getting out of bed in the mornings because you’re tired of being met with back pain that’s making your life extremely uncomfortable. While 65 million Americans report recent back pain, about 16 million adults are like you — they struggle with chronic discomfort and daily back pain.

If you want to get back out into the world and move without pain, the team here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management wants to draw your attention to a tried-and-true pain management technique for chronic back pain — radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

Quieting the nerves

In most cases, chronic back pain stems from nerve compression — there’s something that’s irritating or pressing up against nerves in your back, which can lead to active pain signaling.

Examples of conditions that can compress nerves in your back include:

These conditions typically affect your neck or lower back — two areas of your spine that enjoy the most movement and, as a result, succumb more readily to degenerative changes.

Since these conditions are degenerative, repairing the damage is complicated, if not impossible, which often leaves pain management as the best solution. And this pain management comes down to quieting the nerves that are sending pain signals to your brain.

How radiofrequency ablation combats lower back pain

In basic terms, with RFA, we target the ends of the nerve fibers that are actively firing pain signals by burning them with radiofrequency (RF) energy.

Now, let’s back this up a little. Before we perform RFA, we first administer diagnostic nerve blocks to make sure that we’re targeting the right nerve fibers. We administer these injections in our offices in just minutes, and the effects should last about 24 hours. 

If you experience meaningful pain relief from these temporary nerve blocks, we know we’ve identified the right nerves, and we can proceed with the RFA. In fact, in people who respond favorably to the diagnostic nerve blocks, RFA treatment is between 70% and 80% effective.

When you come in for your RFA, we make you comfortable on our treatment table and use a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any discomfort. Then, using live X-ray (fluoroscopy) to guide us, we insert a thin, hollow needle in the same area as the diagnostic nerve block, except this time we release RF energy to ablate the ends of the nerves.

Once we’re finished, we cover the tiny incisions with adhesives and you’re free to go home.

How long will RFA provide back pain relief?

It’s tough to say here how long your RFA procedure will provide you with relief from your chronic back pain. In reality, it depends on how quickly your nerves regenerate. Some people enjoy a few months respite from their pain while others go a couple of years without back pain.

The good news is that whenever your nerves regrow and the pain relief starts to wear off, we can go back in and perform another minimally invasive RFA procedure.

If you’d like to explore whether a RFA procedure is right for your chronic back pain, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, to schedule a consultation.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why You Shouldn't Self-Diagnose Your Shoulder Pain

Why You Shouldn't Self-Diagnose Your Shoulder Pain

You try to lift your arm, but shoulder pain doesn’t allow it to get very far. Or, maybe you’re having trouble sleeping because of shoulder pain. Whatever the situation, we suggest you don’t go it alone.

4 Strategies for Protecting Your Spine on the Job

Did you know that back-related injuries account for the most missed days of work in the United States? Whether you're sitting at a desk or lifting heavy objects for work, here are some proven strategies.