Chronic pain isn’t any fun. Plus, the constant pain begins to keep the person from enjoying the things they used to do. Something as simple as walking the dog or going to the grocery store can be an exercise in pain.
Most chronic back pain is caused by compression of the spinal nerves. The area of the compression will radiate out from beyond the section of the back to the area served by the nerve or nerves. For instance, nerve compression in the lower back will show up in leg pain.
Dr. Trujillo often uses radiofrequency ablation to help our patients from the Show Low area overcome their chronic back pain.
When would I need RF ablation?
When your chronic neck or back pain is due to arthritis in your spine, radiofrequency ablation could be a good option. The goal of RF ablation is to eliminate or reduce the pain signals that are coming from where a spinal nerve root is being compressed where it leaves the spinal column. This is often due to degeneration of the facet joints at the back of the vertebrae, or in the sacroiliac joints at the bottom of the spine where it enters the pelvis.
How does Dr. Trujillo perform RF ablation?
Although it sounds scary to some patients, they will be awake during these procedures. That is because Dr. Trujillo needs the patient to provide feedback to verify that the correct nerve is being treated. For these treatments, patients receive a combination of IV sedation and local anesthesia in the treatment area.
Using x-ray guidance, Dr. Trujillo inserts the radiofrequency needle into the correct area. He moves the needle into position alongside the inflamed nerves. To test placement, a mild electrical current is passed through the needle. If the needle is in the right location, the patient will feel a brief tingling sensation and there may be a muscle twitch in the neck or back.
Now that the target nerves are located, local anesthesia is administered to them to minimize any pain during the ablation.
Dr. Trujillo then passes the radiofrequency energy through the needle, creating a lesion on the nerve. This lesion disrupts the pain signals sent to the brain. This process is repeated for additional nerves as needed.
Recovery and pain relief
Patients have some soreness in the area Dr. Trujillo treated. There isn’t any absolute restriction on activity, but patients will want to avoid pain-causing activities. Rest is important. Most patients experience full pain relief two to three weeks after Dr. Trujillo performs their ablation.
Want to do something about your chronic back pain? Call the pain specialists at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates, (855) 768-4968, to make an appointment.