Radiofrequency ablation (REA) is a treatment that helps reduce chronic pain in the back, neck and joints. An electrical current is produced by radio waves and is used to provide heat to a specific nerve tissue. When the nerve is heated, it reduces the pain signals that it sends to the brain from that specific place.
The pain may be reduced for six to 12 months, depending on the cause of the pain and the location in the body. In some cases, the relief may last for several years. The treatment is very successful with more than 70 percent of the people treated experiencing pain relief.
Radiofrequency ablation is considered a safe treatment for certain kinds of pain. During a consultation, our specialist may diagnose your pain and help you understand your treatment options. If RFA is the right treatment for your pain, you should take a few precautions before treatment:
• You should not eat within six hours of your treatment, but you can drink clear liquids until two hours before treatment.
• If you take insulin, you will need to adjust the dosage the day before the treatment. Our specialist will guide you, and you can take the insulin immediately after the treatment.
• You may continue to take any other prescription medications with a small sip of water and should bring all of your medications with you when you have treatment.
• You will need someone to drive you home after the treatment.
During the procedure, the doctor will insert a tiny tool into the area where you have pain. Guided by an X-ray, the tool will be focused on the exact area of pain. At that point, a microelectrode is inserted and the stimulation process begins.
You may be asked if you feel any slight sensation. Knowing this may help the doctor find the exact location for treatment. When the tool is in the right place, the radiofrequency current is sent to the surrounding tissue, causing it to heat. You should not feel much of anything during this portion of the treatment.
After the treatment, you may be given instructions for the recovery time during the next 24 hours. You can look forward to less pain in that particular place for many months, if not years. To learn more about radiofrequency ablation, and to see if this can help to relieve your pain, visit Longevity Spine in Oklahoma City. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.