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When is Radiofrequency Ablation Appropriate for Chronic Pain?

More than 20% of Americans experience chronic pain, the type that lasts for 12 weeks or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, 36.4% of them experience high-impact chronic pain, meaning their pain is severe and debilitating. 

Dr. Benjamin Taimoorazy and our team here at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute offer a variety of pain management services, including radiofrequency ablation, to help alleviate some of your pain. 

Here, we discuss radiofrequency ablation as a treatment for chronic pain

A brief overview of radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is a type of interventional pain management treatment designed to reduce pain by stopping your nerves from sending pain messages to your brain. As the name suggests, radiofrequency ablation harnesses radiofrequency energy to reach these goals. The radiofrequency energy delivers heat to your nerve, which damages the nerve enough to stop it from sending pain signals. 

During your treatment, special needles deliver the radiofrequency energy waves to the targeted nerves. Imaging scans (called fluoroscopy) are used to guide the placement of these needles. The location of your pain determines which nerves are targeted. Once the needle tip is placed in the appropriate location, an electrode is inserted through the needle. The electrode emits a small amount of electrical current. This energy creates a heat lesion on the targeted nerve and won’t damage any other nerves.

Radiofrequency ablation is often used for chronic pain in the back, neck, buttocks (sacroiliac joint), and hip/knee joint pain.

Signs you might benefit from radiofrequency ablation for chronic pain

Radiofrequency ablation won’t treat underlying medical conditions that cause pain, but it can help reduce your pain enough so that you can enjoy an improved quality of life. You might consider radiofrequency for chronic pain if:

Radiofrequency ablation is nonsurgical and is demonstrated to be safe and effective. Research shows that radiofrequency ablation improves function, reduces pain, and reduces analgesic use.

After your radiofrequency ablation, you may need a friend or family member to drive you home, especially if you require sedation. 

What if radiofrequency ablation isn’t right for you?

Radiofrequency ablation isn’t right for everyone, but that still doesn’t mean you’re stuck with chronic pain. Dr. Taimoorazy performs a physical exam, reviews your health history, and suggests the appropriate treatments for you. Other potential interventional pain management treatments include ketamine infusions, Botox® injections, spinal injections, spinal cord stimulation, and regenerative medicine. 

If chronic pain is holding you back, schedule a consultation at Beverly Hills Migraine and Pain Management Institute to find out if radiofrequency ablation is right for you. You can reach us at 424-302-0289 or through our online booking tool.

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