If you can’t manage your pain with conservative treatments, such as pain medication or physical therapy, you may benefit from a more invasive treatment: Radiofrequency ablation. At Republic Spine and Pain, with locations in Austin and Georgetown, Texas, the board-certified pain management physicians specialize in interventional pain management and offer radiofrequency ablation as a treatment option. To learn more about the procedure and how it may benefit you, contact the office nearest you by phone or request an appointment online.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure Republic Spine and Pain offers as a method to help manage pain. During the procedure, radiofrequency energy heats the nerves, which leads to an alteration in the pain signal to reduce your discomfort.
The pain management specialists at Republic Spine and Pain determine if you’re a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation during a consultation. Your doctor takes into consideration the location and severity of your pain, as well as other methods of pain management you’ve tried.
Republic Spine and Pain primarily offers radiofrequency ablation to manage facet-related neck and back pain. The facet joints connect the vertebrae that make up your spine. Each facet joint is innervated with a medial branch nerve that supplies sensory information to the brain.
Prior to the ablation, your doctor may first conduct a diagnostic test that includes an injection of a numbing medicine into the nerve. If your pain resolves after the injection (referred to as nerve block), then they can go back and burn (ablate) those same nerves.
Your pain management specialist at Republic Spine and Pain provides specific instructions on what you need to do to prepare for your radiofrequency ablation. You may be advised to not take anti-inflammatory medication for several days prior to your procedure to prevent excessive bleeding. They may also recommend you arrange to have someone drive you home afterward.
Your radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure. The procedure itself only takes a few minutes, but you may be at the office for several hours for pre- and post-care.
During the procedure, your doctor inserts two thin needles into your facet joint under X-ray guidance. After you receive numbing medication, the radio waves are delivered through the needles, which generates heat around your nerve to destroy it. Your doctor then removes the needles and you’re taken to a recovery area for monitoring.
Your doctor provides you with pain medication to take at home.
After radiofrequency ablation, you may experience a slight increase in pain for the first few weeks. However, once the pain subsides, you should experience pain relief for several months. Republic Spine and Pain may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen your back or neck to prevent the pain from returning.
As the nerves grow back, you may need to repeat radiofrequency ablation.
To schedule a pain management consultation to learn more about radiofrequency ablation, call Republic Spine and Pain or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.