Radiofrequency Ablation and Your Spine
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of the young and old. From pain caused by injuries to the spine to pain derived from congenital disorders and degenerative disorders, back pain is an extremely common issue affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. Consequently, it is vital to secure a pain management technique that effectively targets back pain and eliminates its effects long-term.
Radiofrequency ablation is one such intervention.
Radiofrequency ablation has been used for years as a safe and effective pain management technique. Pain is frequently managed via medication, which comes with its own issues, and surgery, which can come with plenty of side effects and potential hazards.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) may be used to bridge the gap between common pain management techniques and effective interventions.
What Is It?
Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical procedure designed to eliminate pain or improve the symptoms of persistent pain. It can be used in a variety of settings but has been particularly useful for people who have chronic back pain. The term “ablation” on its own is used to describe any type of breakdown process through erosion. Although the nerves targeted in radiofrequency ablation are not eroded, they are essentially desensitized.
How Does it Help?
Radiofrequency ablation eases symptoms of back pain by applying heat to the areas of the spine that are most prone to delivering sensations of pain. Pain is largely a matter of nerve sensations, and eliminating the nerves’ ability to communicate effectively removes sensations of pain. Radiofrequency ablation does not treat a condition but instead treats the pain associated with a given condition to improve quality of life and general well-being.
Pain Centers In Your Spine
The spine is home to a vast network of nerves, which means that your spine may be home to a large number of pain responses. The nerves in your spine can be linked to issues elsewhere in your body but can also be caused by localized issues and concerns.
Radiofrequency ablation may effectively target the majority of these issues because the procedure focuses on the nerves responsible for pain responses.
What Causes Spine Pain?
The precise cause of pain in the spine varies and may change from day to day. For some, the cause of spine pain is spinal fusion or other spine-related disorders. Spine pain can also be caused by a pinched nerve. The precise cause of spine pain can be quite vast and multi-varied, and speaking with a member of a pain management team will usually yield the best result.
Common Sources of Spine Pain
There are several conditions that have been known to trigger pain in the spine and the surrounding areas, each of them with a different root cause. These include:
These conditions can experience relief following radiofrequency ablation. However, the exact length of time relief can be expected to last will vary based on the severity of the pain and the location of the condition. Because ablation is used to halt nerve responses, nerve conditions may be particularly receptive to treatment.
Using Radiofrequency Ablation for Pain Management
Radiofrequency ablation is a tried-and-true method for relieving pain that has been used frequently in a variety of pain management settings because it is safe and effective and does not come along with a high risk of ongoing side effects. Unlike pharmaceutical interventions, radiofrequency ablation is not habit-forming and can be an ideal solution for people leery of habit-forming substances.
Is It Safe?
Radiofrequency ablation is an extremely safe procedure, with very few side effects. Side effects are mild and include discomfort, bruising, and bleeding at the insertion site.
Who Qualifies for Treatment?
Radiofrequency ablation is not recommended for people who are prone to heavy bleeding or those who have an active infection during the time of the procedure. Not all conditions at the root of back pain are recommended for RFA. Most notably, some studies have asserted that back pain resulting from facet joints may not be easily resolved by RFA. Still others have suggested that RFA is effective for all types of back pain.
To determine whether or not you are a candidate for radiofrequency ablation, speak to a pain management professional.
Preparing for Your Procedure
Once you have spoken to a pain management professional, identified the source of your back pain, and determined that you are a candidate for RFA, the next step is preparing for your ablation procedure. To adequately prepare, avoid eating food for 6-8 hours prior to the procedure, and avoid liquids for at least 2 hours prior to the procedure. Follow all recommendations provided by your physician or medical team, and arrange for a way to be taken home.
Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and effective form of pain management that can last anywhere from 90 days to years. When applied correctly, it can offer relief from pain that might otherwise be debilitating and improve your quality of life.