Arthritis is a common disorder, especially as you get older. It can lead to back and neck pain, which can genuinely change the way you live your life. Treatments can be frustrating when they don’t yield the results you’ve been hoping for. However, radiofrequency ablation could provide you with months to years of pain relief.
At Alliance Orthopedics, our team is prepared to help you find a solution to your chronic neck and back pain. Our providers include board-certified orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists, and pain management physicians. If we determine that your pain could benefit from radiofrequency ablation, we get you scheduled in the pain management clinic so that you can kick pain to the curb for good.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that occurs in any of the joints in your body. Your neck and back are especially prone to arthritis due to the wear and tear they take daily. There are many different types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common form.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive form of arthritis that gets worse over time. This form of arthritis affects the cartilage’s integrity in your joints, wearing it down little by little. It can lead to chronic pain that’s hard to treat.
We may initially recommend over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, or steroid injections. But, if these treatments don’t work, you could benefit from radiofrequency ablation.
What is radiofrequency ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used in the treatment of pain in your neck and back. It may be done with or without sedation and is usually performed by our pain management doctors in an outpatient setting.
For the procedure, you have an intravenous line placed in your arm to receive light sedation during the procedure. If we’re treating you for chronic neck or back pain, you’ll lie on your stomach during the treatment.
Our pain management specialists then inject some numbing medication into the area to make sure you’re comfortable during the procedure. We then use a special type of imaging called fluoroscopy to make sure we target the precise spot of your pain.
Once we confirm the location, our pain management doctors insert a tiny electrode through the needle.
At this point, you may feel some tingling in the area where the electrode is placed. Once you verify that it’s the area causing you pain, our doctors turn on the electrode’s electrical impulses to heat the nerves. This deadens the nerve endings, preventing pain signals from making it to your brain.
How long does pain relief last?
Everyone responds differently to radiofrequency ablation, so it’s hard to say how long you’ll experience pain relief after the procedure. The amount of relief and how long it also lasts dramatically depends on the direct cause of your pain and where it’s located.
It may take a few days to a week after the procedure for you to experience significant pain relief due to swelling or discomfort from the ablation. However, after you’ve healed from the procedure, you could get 6-12 months of pain relief.
You could even get more than a year of pain relief, but regardless of how long it lasts, you may need to have another radiofrequency ablation procedure done at some point if your pain returns.
Are you a candidate?
Radiofrequency ablation is most commonly used for neck and back pain relief, including hard-to-treat arthritis pain. Even though this treatment is minimally invasive, it’s still more invasive than other conservative therapies, so it does come with more risks.
Our doctors may recommend radiofrequency ablation if your pain is not relieved by other treatment forms, like rest or anti-inflammatory medications. It can provide significant neck and back pain relief after just one procedure.
If you’re suffering from back and neck pain, call one of our four convenient locations in New Jersey, or book a telehealth visit or regular visit online today.