Am I A Candidate For Radiofrequency Ablation?

Am I A Candidate For Radiofrequency Ablation?

Nagging chronic pain can put a damper on all aspects of your life. Chronic pain may prevent you from working, playing with your kids or grandkids, or engaging in your favorite recreational activities. Furthermore, chronic pain may make it hard to get high-quality sleep, and it may mess with your mood.

If you have chronic pain and you’ve been looking for a solution to no avail, Kenneth Varley, MD, at Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama, can help you get relief with radiofrequency ablation

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation, also called radiofrequency neurotomy, is a pain-management procedure that uses an electric current to heat specific nerves. By heating the nerves, it hampers their ability to send pain signals to your brain. 

To get a treatment, Dr. Varley first performs a comprehensive physical exam and takes any necessary imaging. Dr. Varley then performs a diagnostic fluoroscopic (X Ray) evaluation of your spine. With your input regarding the pain he localizes the source of the pain. He then performs a diagnostic joint or nerve block to confirm the location of the pain. Generally, 50% or greater pain relief is required to progress to the RF ablation.

The RF procedure is similar to the diagnostic block with an electrode inside a small needle.  Dr. Varley sends a low-level radiofrequency current through the electrode to your nerve. The electric current heats the nerve, which alters the structure of the nerve just enough so that it can’t send pain signals to your brain. 

Most patients experience long-lasting pain relief after radiofrequency ablation. Relief often lasts from six months to 9 months.You can go home the same day as the procedure, but you should enlist a friend or family member to drive you home.   

What can radiofrequency ablation treat?

Radiofrequency ablation is mainly used to arthritis and neuropathic pain. In both cases, the most common treatment sites are the neck, back, and hips. However, radiofrequency ablation can also treat pain in other joints, especially if the pain is caused by nerve issues.

Who can get radiofrequency ablation?

Dr. Varley can help you determine if radiofrequency ablation is right for you. You may be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation if you have chronic pain that hasn’t responded to other treatment options, such as over-the-counter or prescription medications, physical therapy, or regenerative medicine.