Radiofrequency ablation, also known as RFA, is a procedure used in the medical field to treat pain associated with different issues of the neck and lower back. This type of treatment is done by using a small heated device, which is attached to area where different nerves are present within with body. The device works to send a radiofrequency, heated signal to the nerve, in order to calm the nerve and produce pain relief.
Areas Treated with RFA
While radiofrequency ablation treatment can be used to treat a variety of conditions involving the nerves, the most common areas include the neck and lower back.
When pain is present in these areas of the body, it is almost always associated with issues involving the nerves. Therefore, RFA is an effective treatment option for these conditions.
Conditions Treated with RFA
The most common condition treated with RFA is a dislocated disk in the lower back. These can cause pain in the sciatic nerve, which can be treated with RFA. This nerve in this area braches off from the tailbone, and it works to send pain signals to the body.
By stopping the nerve from sending out the signals of pain, the person will experience relief. Other conditions treated with radiofrequency ablation are:
- Pinched nerve
- Degeneration of the joints
- Occipital neuralgia
- Trauma and injury
- Peripheral Neuropathies
- Sympathetically Mediated Pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Some Stroke Related Pain
- Disc Denervation
Effectiveness of Radiofrequency Ablation
Some people will experience pain relief for 12 months after having this treatment done, while other will remain pain-free for several years upon completion.
In a recent research study of patients treated with RFA, more than 65 percent reported mild to moderate pain relief. The majority of the study participates reported some reduction in pain along with the use of pain medications. Also, none of these patients developed significant side effects.
RFA Side Effects
Unlike medication and surgeries there are not any serious side effects associated with the use of RFA for pain. The most common side effect experienced is swelling and bruising in the treatment area, but this will clear up in a short period of time and the side effects will diminish.
Also, patients may experience leg numbness and mild back discomfort for a few hours following the procedure. The radiofrequency ablation is known for being both safe and effective, while also allowing the patient to get pain relief without having side effects occur, as they would with the other treatment options that are available.
Prior to having radiofrequency ablation treatment, the patient meets with a physician in order to determine if this method of treatment is the best option. After determining that RFA is can offer some benefits for the patient, the physician will choose between the use anesthesia or taking a mild sedative. Most patients are generally awake while having this done.
For the RFA procedure, the Las Vegas Pain Management Doctor uses a digital x-ray image, which will allows him to see inside the body in order to place the needle correctly. The needle will be inserted into the correct area of the back, and then connected to a machine to give off the radiofrequency wave to the area of the neck or back tissue, as well as the nerve that is sending out the pain signals. Once the wave is sent through the needle, the heat is then supplied to the area in order to provide pain relief.
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