Chronic pain in the cervical or lumbar spine can be caused by many things, but for those of a certain age, there is a good chance that the source is degeneration or arthritis. There are numerous arthritic conditions of the neck or back that can interfere with daily activities. Patients suffering these effects are highly motivated to find relief, and are generally compliant with the various therapies and protocols offered to them, but no amount of exercise, over-the-counter medications, injections and even surgeries is enough: The pain is simply intractable. When that is the case, radiofrequency ablation may be the best solution available.
Whether your problem is cervical spondylosis, another arthritic condition or degenerative lumbar disc disease, if you’ve found that nothing is working our spine specialty practice in New Jersey may be able to help through the use of an innovative treatment known as radiofrequency ablation. The procedure involves placing thermal probes into the area that is causing the problem with the idea of addressing the nerve fibers that are sending pain messages to the brain. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia with guidance from X-rays. The probes send a painless jolt of energy into the nerve endings, thus eliminating the painful sensation while allowing all function to continue unimpeded.
Radiofrequency ablation is particularly helpful for patients whose nerve fibers have grown around injured lumbar discs, and for patients who are experiencing pain in their cervical spine, a similar procedure known as cervical thermal radiofrequency neurotomy can also provide real relief. Patients see an immediate improvement in their range of motion and in many cases their pain disappears entirely.
In order for radiofrequency ablation to be successful, it is essential that our New Jersey spine specialty physicians are able to pinpoint the exact spot that requires denervation. This sometimes requires multiple diagnostic procedures prior to the procedure, which in and of itself requires just 30 minutes and is performed under local anesthesia. Following the procedure patients are followed up regularly for about a year, as some nerves do regrow, and it may be necessary for the treatment to be repeated in order to ensure that the treatment is fully effective.
It is notable that there a recent study indicated that for some patients, similar relief can be accomplished through the use of pulsed radiofrequency rather than by completely destroying the nerve endings. A presentation made to the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians explained that significant reductions in pain scores were realized and provided patients with improvement that lasted as long as a year. The study showed that the procedure was safe for the treatment of chronic pain in the lower back and neck, and was particularly useful for larger nerves, which are not candidates for ablation.
For more information on this innovative treatment and how it may help you, contact our New Jersey spine practice today to set up a time for a consultation.