10 Conditions That Respond Well to Radiofrequency Ablation

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10 Conditions That Respond Well to Radiofrequency Ablation

Chronic pain is often difficult to treat since pain can persist even after its cause heals. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy the nerves that report chronic pain to your brain, providing long-lasting relief.

The sensation of pain is a complex and sometimes confusing function in your body. An injury in one location can create symptoms elsewhere along the nerve path. With chronic pain, conventional treatments may have little effect or pain may continue even after the original reason for it resolves. 

When conservative treatment methods fail, chronic pain can significantly impact your quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that as many as 20% of American adults deal with chronic pain and that close to half of them may be living with high-impact symptoms.

Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management in West Des Moines and Des Moines, Iowa, specializes in treating many forms of chronic pain. One solution that works when other treatments fail is radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Using radio waves to create heat, RFA targets specific areas in nerves that report chronic pain. 

How RFA works

Using a fine probe guided by an imaging device such as ultrasound, your doctor pinpoints a section of nerve tissue that may be identified by a previous nerve block. The anesthetics used in the nerve block temporarily relieve pain and confirm the location of the pain’s origin. 

When activated, the probe emits radiofrequency energy that heats and destroys nearby nerve tissue. These nerves can no longer deliver pain signals to the brain. 

RFA is typically an outpatient procedure requiring only local anesthetic. You can return home the day of your procedure and usually return to regular activities the next day. 

There are also other uses for RFA, such as shrinking tumors and other growths in the body. 

10 conditions that respond well to RFA

As RFA treatment specialists, we focus on the pain-relieving potential of RFA. It’s a versatile way to treat a range of chronic pain conditions. Here are 10 pain conditions that respond well to radiofrequency ablation. 

Degenerative disc disease

Wear-and-tear takes its toll on the disc cushions between each pair of vertebrae in your spine. As they dry and lose volume, worn discs can place pressure on surrounding nerves. 

Nerve compression in the neck or lower back

Sometimes, pain remains even after nerve compression has healed. RFA can treat these phantom pain signals.

Facet joint arthritis

Worn cartilage on these spinal joints can create chronic pain conditions. 

Herniated discs

Spinal discs can rupture, and the escaping nucleus tissue may irritate or compress nerves. 

Spinal stenosis

Any condition that reduces the space in the spine through which nerve tissue passes is called spinal stenosis. It can be caused by herniated discs, arthritis, and other conditions including bony growths. 

Trigeminal neuralgia

Nerve damage in the face can cause severe, electric shock-like sensations that can be intermittent but ongoing. 

Peripheral neuropathy

Any damage to nerves outside the brain and spinal column is called peripheral neuropathy, and it most often affects the hands and feet. 

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

The joints that connect the spine to the pelvis can create lower back pain that extends into the legs. 

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

Typically affecting an arm or leg, CRPS often causes pain out of proportion with the injury that caused it. 

Local joint pain

Pain symptoms in joints like the shoulders, hips, and knees can sometimes benefit from RFA treatment. 

To restore a life without chronic pain, call the Metro Anesthesia & Pain Management office nearest you to learn more about radiofrequency ablation, or book your visit online.