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How Radiofrequency Ablation Disables Nerves and Alleviates Pain

Chronic pain affects an estimated 50 million adults in the United States. Ongoing pain continues even after an illness or injury heals or goes away, leaving you with active pain that may continue for months or years.

Treatment for chronic pain is highly individualized. Here at Lynx Healthcare, pain management physician Michael Pylman, MD, offers a full range of top-quality pain management care. Patients who visit us receive a customized treatment plan to relieve your pain so that you feel and function better.

Here we discuss how we use radiofrequency ablation to block pain signals at the source to give you pain relief. 

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Commonly known as a nerve block, radiofrequency ablation harnesses the power of radio waves to block nerves from communicating their pain signals. Radiofrequency ablation typically provides pain relief for six to nine months, while some patients experience up to two years of pain relief.

After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Pylman determines which nerve to ablate with an electric needle. This is a precise procedure that interrupts the signal of a specific nerve. X-ray imaging is used to guide the placement of the needles.

During the procedure, you may feel some twitching as a result of the electrical stimulation. Delivering radio waves to the targeted nerve temporarily turns off the ability of the nerve to send pain signals, effectively giving you pain relief.

How long does radiofrequency ablation take to work?

The pain-relieving effects from radiofrequency ablation don’t always occur right away.

In fact, it’s normal for some people to experience a tiny bit of increased pain in the first few days after radiofrequency ablation because the nerves may be irritated. 

Don’t worry, pain will decrease with time, and it may take several days before you start feeling some pain relief. Many people notice a difference about 10 days after having the procedure. However, it can take two or three weeks before you feel significant relief.

Radiofrequency ablation is a successful procedure shown to provide noticeable relief in many patients. It’s most successful in people with neck and back pain, as well as those with arthritis pain.

What happens after radiofrequency ablation?

After the procedure, some patients may worry that radiofrequency ablation was not effective. We encourage patients to wait at least three weeks. If you still feel the procedure was unsuccessful, Dr. Pylman will discuss the next step in successfully relieving your pain.

In some cases, Dr. Pylman may need to repeat the procedure in order to successfully block the nerve. Some people may experience partial pain relief with some lingering symptoms. If this happens, Dr. Pylman works closely with you to manage any lingering pain.

If your pain is the result of an underlying injury, Dr. Pylman can help you treat the underlying source so that you experience more lasting relief after the nerve block wears off in 6-24 months.

We use the latest advances in pain management to give you the relief you need so that you can get your life back.

If you’re struggling with pain, rely on Dr. Pylman and our team at Lynx Healthcare to help you get relief. Give us a call at our office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to schedule a visit or you can request an appointment online today. 

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