When RF Ablation Therapy May Be Appropriate for Your Chronic Pain

Source: Mayo Clinic

If you suffer from chronic pain that is not relieved by the use of over-the-counter medications, steroid or epidural injections, and physical therapy, talk to a pain clinic doctor to determine if radiofrequency ablation is the right option for you.

A physician will recommend the best method of treatment after a thorough physical examination to check for abnormalities. A spine assessment can be done using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to determine if radiofrequency ablation treatment is appropriate for your condition. Once a physician has ruled out any spinal complications, the doctor will conduct a series of tests to determine if the individual could benefit from the treatment.

A journey to Radiofrequency Ablation

A physician may take into consideration how long conventional pain treatment methods were utilized unsuccessfully. An individual with chronic pain may first be treated with steroid drug injections for at least three months before considering radiofrequency ablation. If this treatment works, radiofrequency ablation may not be necessary. If steroid treatments do not work, a doctor may conduct diagnostic medial branch blocks by inserting a needle into the area of the spine where the pain is present to determine the location of the affected area. If the patient has relief from at least two diagnostic nerve blocks, a doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation

Conditions where Radiofrequency Ablation is used

The following conditions are often treated using radiofrequency ablation: lumbar facet and cervical facet pain, dorsal root ganglion, chronic low back pain, Trigeminal neuralgia, Sphenopalatine ganglion.

Some individuals may have already undergone surgery to relieve pain before being referred to a pain clinic. It should be noted that sometimes surgery does not successfully treat pain, especially in individuals with back pain. Radiofrequency ablation may be recommended for these individuals. Radiofrequency ablation pain relief will vary due to several factors such as where the pain is sensed, where it is located, what the cause of the pain is, and the number of nerves that require treatment.

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