Radiofrequency is a procedure that uses high frequency radio waves directed at specific sites in your body. Radiofrequency is like a tiny knife that cuts the nerves. Each lesion interrupts the transmission of a specific nerve and therefore stops the sensation of pain from reaching the brain. Radiofrequency procedures can give you one to two years of pain relief. The radiofrequency procedure may then be repeated if the pain returns.
What is radiofrequency used for?
At Palm Beach Spine & Diagnostic Institute we use radiofrequency to stop the pain sensations that arise from many structures. For instance, if your pain keeps coming back after cortisone injections, you might be a candidate for radiofrequency. Radiofrequency can be used for pain coming from the sacroiliac joint, neck, chest and lower back.
How is Radiofrequency used for pain coming from the neck, chest and low back?
Often pain arising from the spine in the neck, chest or low back arises from the facet joints. These are small joints that move when the spine moves and help to hold the spine together. They are true joints, like the knee joints or finger joints. With repeated stress, trauma, accidents or because of the changes that occur with arthritis, these joints can cause pain in the upper, middle and lower parts of the spine. Radiofrequency, when applied to the facet joints, eliminates the pain signals that go from the facet joints to the brain and cause the feeling of pain.
How is radiofrequency used to treat pain coming from the sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac joint is the joint between the two large bones of the pelvis. It is the joint space between the pelvis and the sacrum and is held together by ligaments that need to be very strong in order to support the body’s weight. Pain arising from the sacroiliac joints can be disabling. This kind of pain is usually located in the buttocks and increases when you walk or sit for prolonged periods of time. Radiofrequency procedures on the sacroiliac joints employ heating of the ligaments that stimulates the ligaments, thereby instituting a healing and strengthening process.
What are the advantages of this procedure?
Like any procedure you undergo, there are possible complications. Although extremely rare, nerve damage, paralysis, bleeding, infection and allergic reactions are possible. The most common side effect is soreness at the site of the procedure, which lasts for only 1 to 2 days.