Nerve Ablation for Pain

3D of Male Feeling the Neck PainAt Coastal Spine, all we do is care for your neck and spine. That’s a tall order considering our spine has the thankless job of keeping us human, i.e., standing up on two feet. When you think about the loads we place on the 33 vertebrae (only 24 move if you’re older than about 22, as the sacrum and coccyx are fused) and the 23 vertebral discs in between the vertebrae, it’s no wonder we often have sore necks and backs. It’s easy to overload an area and strain a muscle or, worse, herniate a disc.

At Coastal Spine, sometimes the best way to help a patient move beyond chronic pain is to ablate the offending nerve. This process is known as radiofrequency ablation. It’s a low-risk treatment that can be quite effective for reducing chronic pain.

How Is This Done?

These are outpatient procedures performed at our five New Jersey locations. Patients are under IV sedation and the area will be locally anesthetized. First, we need to make sure the nerve we think is the culprit causing your pain is indeed the offending party. To do so, we use x-ray guidance to place a needle into the correct position. We pass a mild electrical current through the needle. If the placement is correct, you’ll feel a tingling sensation and your muscle may twitch. Now we know this is the right nerve to target.

We’ll place more local anesthetic, and now we pass radiofrequency energy through the needle. This higher level of energy creates a lesion on the nerve. This disrupts the pain signals sent from the nerve to your brain, the cause of your chronic pain. If more nerves are involved, we’ll repeat the process for those.

How Successful Is RF Ablation?

Research shows radiofrequency ablation for nerve pain has a 70-80 percent success rate with a single treatment. Success varies between patients, but pain relief can last from 6 months to a full year. In some patients, their pain can be eliminated permanently.

Do you have chronic back pain? Call the spine specialists at Coastal Spine, (856) 222-4444, and let’s get to the bottom of it.

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