Should I Consider Radiofrequency Ablation for My Chronic Lower Back Pain?

Sep 01, 2023
Should I Consider Radiofrequency Ablation for My Chronic Lower Back Pain?
You live with near-constant discomfort in your lower back, and the chronic pain is exacting a heavy toll on your overall physical and mental wellness. It might be time to consider radiofrequency ablation.

Each day is a struggle thanks to ongoing lower back pain, and you realize that your world has shrunk considerably thanks to your condition. Nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain, and 8% of all adults struggle with chronic back pain that limits their lives.

If your chronic back pain is making your world far too small, our team at Sunshine Spine and Pain Specialists, PLLC, led by Dr. Peter Fernandez and Dr. Amanda Fernandez, wants to highlight an effective solution — radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

Let’s look at how we can quiet the pain in your lower back through RFA, allowing you to get back to your life.

Understanding the source of your pain

It’s safe to say that most chronic lower back pain can be traced back to nerve compression in your lumbar spine. Your spine provides passage for your central nervous system and serves as the starting point for your peripheral nervous system. 

From your back to your pelvis, 31 pairs of spinal nerves and roots exit your spine, five of which are found in your lumbar spine (lower back). In addition, another five pairs are found further down in your sacral region.

Nerve compression in these areas is common due to the activity in your lower back, as well as the increased pressure. Conditions such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and lumbar spinal stenosis are prevalent types of nerve compression.

Quieting the source of your pain

With RFA, we target and quiet the nerves in your lower back. To do this, we use a needle to deliver radiofrequency energy that heats the end of the nerve and creates an adhesion. This adhesion prevents the nerve from sending pain signals to your brain.

To ensure we’re addressing the right nerve, we first try a nerve block. During this procedure, we inject an anesthetic into the overactive nerve. If you experience pain relief for the next 24 hours, we know we’ve isolated the nerve responsible for your pain.

At this point, you return, and we perform the RFA. It is a simple outpatient procedure, and we only need to use a local anesthetic in the area where we insert the needle. Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) guidance, we move the needle into position, release the RF energy, and remove the needle. That’s it!

Over the following days, you should start to feel an improvement in your lower back. We ask that you take it easy for the first day or two, but after that, you’re free to get back to your regular routine.

The results can last for 6-12 months or more. Your period of pain relief depends upon nerve regrowth. When and if the treated nerve grows back, we can perform another RFA procedure to continue with your excellent pain relief.

If you’d like to explore if you’re a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our office in Sarasota, Florida. You can call 941-867-7463 or use our online booking form.