Did you know researchers estimate at least one-fifth (over 50 million) American adults struggle with chronic pain? When you’re dealing with ongoing pain, taking pills or getting frequent injections can become a habit.
The good news is that thanks to advances in medical technology, the compassionate providers at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, can help you find relief from chronic pain using noninvasive or minimally invasive therapies.
One of our favorite treatments for chronic pain includes radiofrequency ablation (RFA) therapy. This minimally invasive, outpatient treatment only takes about 45 minutes, and it offers effective and lasting freedom from pain.
Here’s a closer look at RFA for chronic pain and the benefits this treatment provides.
Understanding RFA treatments
RFA treatments use electromagnetic energy to create heat that blasts the nerves linked to the source of your chronic pain. It doesn’t require general anesthesia, and you remain awake and alert—but pain-free—during your session.
Your provider first identifies which nerves are triggering your chronic pain. You’re given a local anesthetic so you remain comfortable, and if you need help relaxing, we can give you medication for that, too.
Using a special X-ray machine, your provider puts a hollow needle into the region of your pain. They then send the heat current through the needle into the nerves that are causing your pain.
Once these nerves are treated with RFA, they stop sending pain signals to your brain. The result is relief from chronic pain and the ability to resume your life with less or no pain medication or other treatments that can trigger unwanted side effects.
When your RFA treatment is over, you’re free to return home after a brief in-office recovery period. Your provider gives you detailed post-procedure instructions, but most people can return to normal activities within 24 hours.
Keep in mind that while you’ll notice a decrease in your pain soon after your RFA treatment, it can take 1-3 weeks for the full effects to take hold.
Benefits RFA treatments provide
One of the biggest benefits of RFA treatments for chronic pain is the ability to minimize or eliminate pain caused by many issues and in many locations. Some of the most common types of chronic pain Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists address using RFA include:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Some neuropathy
- Facet joint disease
- Cervical headaches
Another reason our team frequently recommends RFA for chronic pain is that it works. In fact, at least 80% of patients get effective, lasting relief. Pain relief usually lasts 6-24 months, depending on your unique factors, and for some patients, the pain never returns.
RFA treatments provide even more benefits for people with chronic pain, including:
- Eliminating or reducing use of painkillers
- No unwanted side effects from drugs
- Little to no recovery or “down” time
- Ability to avoid surgical or invasive treatments
- Instant improvement of pain levels
- Improved function and mobility
Not everyone with chronic pain is a candidate for RFA treatment, however. The best way to learn if RFA is right for you is by scheduling an appointment with a provider at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists.
Learn more about the benefits of RFA for chronic pain and whether it’s the right treatment for you by setting up an appointment online or over the phone at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia.