What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

If you suffer from chronic pain, radiofrequency ablation is a cutting-edge therapy that may help you find pain relief.

After undergoing radiofrequency ablation, patients have reported:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduced recovery times after surgery
  • Improvement in quality of life
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased need to take pain medications when compared to more conservative treatment options

In this post, we discuss:

  • How pain doctors perform a radiofrequency ablation procedure
  • Pain conditions that benefit from this procedure
  • The benefits of radiofrequency ablation
  • Possible radiofrequency ablation side effects
  • If radiofrequency ablation could help you reduce your pain

Radiofrequency ablation basics

Radiofrequency ablation is a therapy that uses radio waves to create an electrical current through the body. This current delivers heat to targeted nerve tissues. And this can help reduce your chronic pain symptoms that are associated with various conditions. This is because the heat is applied to the nerve tissue in a way that impairs or destroys the nerves. This can result in a semi-permanent disturbance of the transmission of pain signals from the spinal column to the brain.

Radiofrequency ablation was initially discovered to be an effective treatment for the relief of chronic pain in 1931. It was first utilized to treat a patient with trigeminal neuralgia, which is a pain condition that affects facial nerves, resulting in severe jolts of pain. Due to the treatment benefits of this procedure, radiofrequency ablation has become increasingly popular for both physicians and patients over the past 15 years.

Our very own Dr. Lynch shows how radiofrequency ablation is done in the following video.


What Are Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits?

The best radiofrequency ablation benefits include:

  • It can be performed in an outpatient environment
  • The needle can be inserted at a precise location in the body
  • It’s a minimally-invasive procedure, with fast results
  • Your pain doctor can repeat the procedure if more pain relief is needed
  • Many patients, especially those with back pain, experience profound pain relief

Numerous reports have shown that radiofrequency ablation leads to a greater reduction in spinal back pain compared to conventional treatment options, due to the disruption of nerve function that occurs with this procedure. Further, the reports have suggested that the pain reduction is sustained for six to 12 months after the procedure is performed. There are additional benefits of this treatment that may also contribute to it’s appeal.

Types of radiofrequency ablation