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Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to stop nerves from sending signals to the brain. As a result, you experience relief from lower back pain caused by conditions in the facet or sacroiliac joints. In some cases, radiofrequency ablation can help with axial low back pain.
Radiofrequency ablation is minimally invasive and is performed with local anesthetics and/or mild sedation. Fluoroscopy (a live X-ray) is used to guide a specialized needle to the nerves that are causing pain. Microelectrodes then send sensations to the nerves, allowing your Kayal Pain & Spine specialist to pinpoint which nerves are causing pain. Once it’s confirmed that disrupting these nerves is likely to relieve the pain, the nerves are heated using radiofrequency waves.
There are two types of radiofrequency ablation: medial branch ablation and lateral branch ablation. Medial branch ablation is used to relieve pain in the facet joints, which are the joints found behind and between each vertebra bone. Lateral branch ablation targets the sacroiliac joints, which connect the base of the spine to the pelvic bones. Sacroiliac joints are a common source of low back pain, including sciatica.
The radiofrequency ablation procedure is typically recommended when physical therapy and other first-line treatment options aren’t effective or can’t be performed.
What to expect before, during and after radiofrequency ablation
To determine your candidacy for radiofrequency ablation, your Kayal Pain & Spine Center specialist will perform a diagnostic nerve block. This temporary procedure mimics the long-term impacts of radiofrequency ablation and will help determine if the therapy is right for you.
Preparation for radiofrequency ablation is fairly minimal; you should be able to maintain your everyday activities. However, you will need to stop taking ibuprofen, aspirin or any blood thinners, as these can cause complications. Most other medications are safe to continue, but your specialist will review your medications with you.
Radiofrequency ablation is a simple outpatient procedure, which typically takes around an hour to perform. You should ask a friend or family member to drive you home after the procedure. Be sure to relax for the rest of the day. However, you can resume normal activities as soon as you feel able. Most patients feel ready to maintain their regular routines within a few days.
Depending on your specific condition, you may be instructed to begin a physical therapy regime to increase your body’s overall health and strength. While radiofrequency ablation is highly beneficial, it is also temporary. It’s important to take other actions to strengthen your body whenever possible.
Discover the advantages
Most patients who receive radiofrequency ablation will experience immediate pain relief that lasts, on average, from six months to a year. In some cases, the pain relief will last for years.
Because radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive technique, you’ll enjoy faster recovery times and less pain than with traditional surgery. With quick recovery, you’ll be able to resume your normal life faster than ever, free of restrictive lower back pain.
The elite team of experts at Kayal Pain & Spine Center offers radiofrequency ablation that provides relief when other therapies can’t treat chronic low back pain. The improved feeling of health and wellness after radiofrequency ablation can drastically improve your quality of life and happiness. You’ll feel liberating freedom as you resume activities that previously caused too much pain.