Have you been dealing with arthritis pain for a long period? Are you starting to wonder if conservative treatments aren’t making the difference they should be? It might be time to try another option, like effective but minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation.
The Spine and Pain Center of California offers treatments for several chronic pain conditions. We understand there is a point where conservative treatments just aren’t creating a positive outcome. Our founder Dr. Navin Mahallavaram and our other providers consider radiofrequency ablation to be one of the best options for long-term arthritis pain.
Radiofrequency ablation is a type of treatment that involves electrical currents. The currents damage the nerve endings sending pain signals to the brain without damaging the tissue around them. The use of radiofrequency to treat pain began in the 1970s, and since then, the treatment has been improved significantly to create positive effects.
In most cases, this procedure isn’t used immediately to deal with arthritis. Initial treatments might involve using over-the-counter pain management and anti-inflammatory medications, braces, modifying one’s activities, and stretching/exercising. Sometimes, these treatments don’t create a significant reduction in pain, and an option like radiofrequency ablation is needed.
Radiofrequency ablation is low risk and creates very few, if any, side effects. There is also very little recovery time, and the procedure can allow one to avoid more intensive treatments, such as the use of opioid medication or surgery.
This procedure usually takes between 15 minutes and a few hours to complete, depending on the severity and complexity of the condition. Before Dr. Mahallavaram performs radiofrequency ablation, he will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
When you are ready for your procedure, you will be given a sedative to help you stay calm but lucid. After applying a local anesthetic, Dr. Mahallavaram will insert a needle into your back, knee, or another area of pain using an x-ray called fluoroscopy to guide the needle to the right place.
Once all is lined up, Dr. Mahallavaram inserts the electrode that delivers the electrical current. The current heats the nerve endings so they will no longer send pain signals to the brain. After the procedure, you might be sore for the next few days and need to rest.
After the electrical current heats up and slightly damages the nerve endings, you will no longer feel the arthritis pain for at least a month. Some people go as long as a year before they need another treatment.
Using radiofrequency ablation for arthritis isn’t just about reducing the experience of pain, however. The procedure can help minimize discomfort so that you may be able to return to or even begin physical therapy. For some people, the pain might’ve been so severe that this wasn’t an option in the past.
Physical therapy, exercise, and other options may be easier for you after the treatment, which means you can use multiple treatments to improve your quality of life with arthritis. The issue won’t disappear, but this treatment can make it much easier to handle in the long term.
Are you ready to learn more about radiofrequency ablation and to determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure? Just call our Pleasanton or Fremont, CA office, and make an appointment online. We’re here to help!