Radiofrequency Ablation

Integrated Spine and Pain Services

Interventional Pain Management Specialist located in Falls Church, VA & Alexandria, VA

Doctors often use radiofrequency and other energy treatments to relieve pain without surgery. At Integrated Spine and Pain Services in Alexandria, Falls Church, Virginia, Diana Lam, PA-C, and Addison Lindberg, MS, PA-C, provide radiofrequency ablation to treat pain originating in the joints of your spine. To find out if radiofrequency ablation fits into your treatment plan, call Integrated Spine and Pain Services or request an appointment online today.

Radiofrequency Ablation Q & A

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment that uses energy from radio waves to temporarily damage certain nerves and stop them from sending pain signals to your brain. During the treatment, the team at Integrated Spine and Pain Services first numbs your skin by placing local anesthesia in the area. 

The team uses an X-ray as they guide another needle to the source of your pain. Radiofrequency energy travels through the needle to the targeted nerves. The radiofrequency will only affect the nerve(s) causing your pain and won’t cause numbness elsewhere.

What can radiofrequency ablation treat?

Radiofrequency ablation treats pain that starts in the joints in your back or neck. If you have back or neck pain due to osteoarthritis or a spinal injury after trying other treatments, the team at Integrated Spine and Pain Services might recommend radiofrequency ablation as the next step in your treatment.

Your spine consists of a series of joints that allow it to twist and bend, called facet joints. Facet joints are located between your vertebrae (the bones in your spine) and allow you to bend down, twist, and stay upright. Each of them contains two small nerves called medial branch nerves. The team at Integrated Spine and Pain Services often treats pain from these nerves with radiofrequency ablation. 

How will I feel after radiofrequency ablation?

After radiofrequency ablation, the team at Integrated Spine and Pain Services allows you some time to rest before you go home.

Once you’re home, your back will likely feel sore for a few days. To relieve the soreness, you should:

  • Use an ice pack for 20 minutes at a time, three or four times daily
  • Avoid placing heat directly on your back
  • Avoid baths for at least two days

Pain relief from the ablation may take several weeks as the ablated nerves stop transmitting pain. For some patients, the relief can last for a year or longer. 

For detailed information about radiofrequency ablation and what it treats, call Integrated Spine and Pain Services or book an appointment online today.