Your back supports just about all of your daily functions. If your back is out of commission, even resting can be excruciating. So what are your options? You can rub creams on your back or hope it goes away on its own — or you can take action and get lasting relief from your pain with state-of-the-art pain management.
At the West Texas Pain Institute, Dr. Raul Lopez and the rest of our expert team are dedicated to relieving your pain with the best treatments available. We’re proud to offer radiofrequency ablation as a key part of our pain management methods. If you’re suffering from back pain, here’s a look at what radiofrequency ablation is and how it can help.
The basics of radiofrequency ablation
To “ablate” means to remove or destroy. In radiofrequency ablation, we use the power of radiofrequency energy to remove tissues — in this case, nerves — that are malfunctioning or damaged and causing your pain. Your body is full of nerves and if they become pinched, damaged, or stop functioning properly, they alert your brain that you’re in pain. Therefore, they must be removed in order for you to feel relief from your symptoms.
Radiofrequency ablation and your back pain
Your back is second only to your brain when it comes to the concentration of nerves. Your spinal cord, which runs the length of your back into your brain, is the headquarters for all of the peripheral nerves that branch out into your body. With all of these important nerves located in and around your back, it’s no wonder that back pain is a common occurrence.
There are many different ways you can find your nerves pinched and damaged. Here are a few of the top causes of chronic back pain:
- Bulging or ruptured discs pressing on nerves
- Arthritis and spinal stenosis
- Skeletal irregularities
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
Anything that damages the nerves that crisscross all over your back can result in sharp, shooting, throbbing, and aching pain. The best way to rid yourself of misery is to address the problem at the source.
Radiofrequency ablation gets to the root of the problem and takes out the origin of your pain—the nerve. With the irritated nerve removed, you’ll start to feel relief.
How it works
The process might sound like it requires invasive measures, but it’s actually a rather simple, minimally invasive, outpatient procedure.
Dr. Lopez begins by applying a local anesthetic to the treatment area to keep you comfortable. Next, guided by a special kind of X-ray to ensure accuracy, a hollow needle is inserted into the nerve. Dr. Lopez then guides a thin wire through the needle directly into the nerve to deliver the radiofrequency energy.
Your nerve heats up and is then destroyed, completely disabling its ability to send pain signals to your brain.
You’ll need someone to drive you home after your treatment, but other than that, you’ll soon be back on your feet with very little downtime. We encourage you to rest at home for a couple of days before returning to your full daily routine.
Is it safe?
If you’re worried about exposure to radiofrequency energy, don’t be. Radiofrequency is very low on the electromagnetic spectrum, which is why you can even find it in common items like your Bluetooth smartphone and microwave. It’s safe in small doses.
There’s no need to rely on hopes and wishes and ineffective at-home remedies for relief from back pain. Get rid of the root cause of your back pain with safe, effective radiofrequency ablation.
If you’d like more information or would like to get started with a consultation, call our office or request an appointment online.