5 Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation When It Comes to Your Pain

5 Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation When It Comes to Your Pain

If you’ve been living with chronic neck or back pain, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans struggle with chronic neck or back pain, too, making this type of pain one of the most common for adults in the US. 

At Boston PainCare, our pain specialists are committed to helping people in Waltham, Natick, and Concord, Massachusetts, find relief from chronic pain. We offer a comprehensive line of services, including non-surgical radiofrequency ablation (RFA).    

Here’s a closer look at this innovative treatment option, the top five benefits it offers, and whether it could be the right pain therapy for you. 

Understanding radiofrequency ablation 

Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical treatment that creates heat energy using electromagnetic waves. When the energy is directed into the tissues related to your pain, it prevents your nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. 

Before beginning RFA treatment, our team tests the tissue associated with your pain to pinpoint the nerves involved. At Boston PainCare, our providers also use a diagnostic nerve block to determine whether you’ll benefit from RFA treatment.  

During treatment, your provider applies a local anesthetic to help keep you comfortable. Depending on your needs, you may also receive medication to keep you relaxed. Your provider then uses a special type of X-ray to insert a hollow needle into the treatment area. 

When the needle is in place, your provider sends the radiofrequency current through it to the tissue responsible for sending pain signals to your brain. Your provider bandages the area and gives you post-procedure instructions.

The in-office RFA procedure typically takes less than an hour, and after a short recovery in our office, you’re free to return home. Most people return to work and their normal activities 24-72 hours after their RFA procedure. 

The benefits of radiofrequency ablation for pain

If you have chronic low back or neck pain, radiofrequency ablation can help you say goodbye to pain and improve your quality of your life — no surgery required. And that’s only one of the benefits RFA brings. Here’s a look at the top five benefits of radiofrequency ablation for pain:  

1. Extremely effective pain relief

More than 70% of patients who undergo radiofrequency ablation enjoy lasting relief. While you’ll experience some immediate pain relief, it takes about 1-3 weeks for you to enjoy the full effects of this treatment. 

2. Safe with few side effects

Unlike prescription pain medications that come with a host of unpleasant side effects, RFA is a safe procedure with little risk of serious complications. Some people do experience temporary side effects, which typically resolve in 2-3 days and include:

Some people may also experience numbness or weakness in their legs for a day or so after treatment. 

3. Fast recovery, lasting relief

While you’ll need to rest and avoid strenuous activities for about 24 hours, you can expect a fast recovery after having an RFA treatment with relief lasting for up to 24 months. What’s more? For some people, the pain stays away for good. 

4. Reduces risk of surgery

Surgery can offer pain relief, but it comes with a lengthy recovery and much greater risks of serious complications, like infection or bleeding. Because RFA is so effective at alleviating your pain, the therapy reduces your risk of needing more complicated neck or back surgery. 

5. Decreased dependence on painkillers

Since radiofrequency ablation offers longer-lasting pain relief than most treatments, you won’t need to take as much oral pain medication. That is a good thing since all types of oral medications for back and neck pain come with serious side effects and risks.   

Determining if radiofrequency ablation is right for you

Before recommending treatment for your chronic neck or back pain, your Boston PainCare provider reviews your medical history, evaluates your current symptoms, and orders any imaging or lab work needed. 

Radiofrequency ablation may be right for you if you have chronic pain in your lower back, neck, or the sacroiliac joints in your pelvis. Some people with arthritic joint pain may also be candidates. Our providers generally recommend RFA for people who respond well to a diagnostic receptor block. 

Some conditions may mean RFA isn’t the right option for treating your pain, such as having an infection, having a bleeding disorder, and being pregnant. If RFA isn’t right for you, your provider may recommend alternative treatments, including:

Ready to leave your chronic pain behind? Contact our pain experts at Boston PainCare in Waltham, Natick, or Concord, Massachusetts, and schedule your consultation today.  

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