Relieve pain with Radiofrequency Ablation.

Chronic pain is often difficult to diagnose and treat. For some people, a procedure known as radiofrequency ablation, or neurotomy, may provide relief for certain conditions. Good candidates for this procedure include those experience pain from:

  • Arthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Whiplash


What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

The neurotomy procedure is considered minimally-invasive, which means it does not require a surgical incision. The process involves creating heat lesions on nerves that seem to be the source of the chronic pain. These carefully-placed heat lesions impede the nerves’ abilities to function and render them unable to transmit pain signals.

How it Works

Depending on the location of the pain, an area of the body is prepared for a needle to be inserted above the spine. A local anesthetic is given to minimize any discomfort. Guided by imaging scans, a small electrical current is administered in order to identify the specific nerves causing the patient pain. Once the stimulation targets the desired nerves, the radiofrequency waves are delivered through a special needle. The waves cause the tip of the needle to heat up, which then affect the targeted nerves responsible for the pain. The patient should experience pain relief within two weeks following the procedure.


Who Might Benefit from the Procedure?

Patients that may want to consider radiofrequency ablation could include anyone who has had chronic and unresolved back or neck pain. Another condition that may be treated by this procedure is arthritis. The degeneration that occurs with arthritis can cause back and joint pain. The heat lesions produced during neurotomy could interfere with the nerves’ abilities to send out pain signals. In most cases, patients have attempted to take medications for management of health conditions responsible for the pain or undergone medically-advised physical therapy which ultimately failed to manage the pain effectively.

What Are the Advantages of the Treatment?

Radiofrequency ablation generally only takes 30-90 minutes and is considered to be an outpatient procedure. Patients typically are able to return home shortly after the process has completed. Aftercare is minimal. Most activities won’t be affected and can be resumed the following day. Any discomfort that may be experienced only lasts for one to four days afterwards and is generally limited to pain at the site that the needle entered the body.

Radiofrequency ablation may be an option for patients experiencing chronic back or joint pain. Under medical supervision, the procedure can provide pain relief, which could eventually allow a patient to resume activities that have been abandoned due to high levels of discomfort. The benefits of neurotomy can last from six months to several years depending on each patient.

However, it is normal for nerves to regenerate. Some patients may need to repeat the procedure once this occurs; others may find that they no longer experience discomfort in the area. Either way, radiofrequency ablation exists to improve patients’ well-being and promote healthy and pain-free living.