By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash
Millions of Americans live with chronic back pain. It can be painful and for many, debilitating. It becomes something they simply live with and get used to. But for some patients, radiofrequency ablation might be the answer to help relieve their pain.
Radiofrequency ablation is a medical procedure that uses an electrical current that heats up and stops the nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain from that specific area. The procedure is commonly performed on people that have chronic neck or low back pain, as well as those that live with pain associated with arthritis and the degeneration of joints that comes with that. The procedure can significantly reduce pain, many times for six to twelve months at a time. Sometimes, the procedure can help cure pain for years.
How is it performed?
Your doctor will numb the area with a local anesthetic and then through x-ray technology, a needle will be inserted to the specific area. A microelectrode is then inserted through the needle and stimulation of the nerve occurs. You will be awake during the procedure and will be asked if you are experiencing feeling or tingling in the area. The doctor will then allow a current to course through the tissue area.
The side effects are usually minimal and may include some numbness or slight discomfort around the injection area. However, if swelling, increased weakness, or severe pain at the injection site occurs, you should contact your doctor immediately.
To find out if this procedure is for you, contact Dr. Cash at Desert Institute of Spine Care for an appointment at: http://www.disclv.com.