Back pain can stop you in your tracks and make every movement agony. If you’re worried that you won’t find a treatment that will work for you, you’re in the right place.
Dr. Raul Lopez and our team at West Texas Pain Institute are proud to offer a wide range of comprehensive back pain treatments, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA). But we know that every step toward a pain-free life comes with questions, so we’re diving deeper into RFA to help you decide when and if it’s an option.
An overview of RFA
At the heart of your pain are nerves sending signals to your brain. The RFA procedure targets those nerves and essentially “turns them off” so you stop experiencing symptoms. We do this by harnessing radio waves that create an electrical current, which heats and destroys the problematic nerves and prevents them from firing off pain signals.
RFA isn’t a cure for your back pain, but it can significantly reduce your pain and other symptoms. With less pain, you may also find it easier to pursue other treatments, like physical therapy.
Is it right for you?
We can use RFA to address common causes of back pain, ranging from lumbar spinal stenosis to arthritis. Though RFA is an option for many cases of back pain, it’s not for everyone. RFA may be an option for you if your pain:
- Doesn’t respond to medication
- Doesn’t respond to a nerve block
- Flares up in certain positions or with certain movements
- Can’t be resolved with surgery (or you don’t want to undergo surgery)
- Radiates to other areas of your body, such as your arms and legs
To make sure you’re a candidate, we start with a consultation and establish a baseline for your unique situation. Then, we monitor your progress to help us decide when RFA treatments might be the best choice.
What to expect
We perform RFA on an outpatient basis, which means you can return home the same day as your procedure.
Before we begin, you lie on the treatment table as we apply a topical anesthetic to keep you completely comfortable. Then, we use a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the needle into place and deliver the radiofrequency energy.
Once you’re done, you may feel soreness near and around the injection site, but you can manage this easily with ice packs and over-the-counter medications. We recommend resting for the first few days and avoiding strenuous activities.
Everyone responds to RFA treatments differently, but you should notice a gradual, steady improvement in your pain levels over the next few weeks. Most of our patients enjoy upwards of six months of pain relief, and many have been pain-free for years.
With RFA, you no longer have to be under the yoke of back pain. Call or click to schedule your consultation with our experts at our El Paso, Texas office today.