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Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation

Radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFTA) is an interventional technique used for severe spinal pain caused by facet joint syndrome. The facet joints connect the bones that align to make up the spine. Healthy facet joints glide freely and allow movement. The natural aging process, injury, arthritis, and certain spine conditions can change the way facet joints move and lead to pain and restricted motion. Such symptoms are referred to as facet joint syndrome or disease.

Radiofrequency ablation, also called rhizotomy or neurotomy, is typically performed after a successful nerve block procedure. The procedure essentially destroys the nerve within the joint, so that pain signals are no longer sent to the brain. S.E. PA Pain Management does RFTA procedures for the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine.

The procedure is similar to an injection. It is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in the office. The injection site is numbed to keep you comfortable.

During the procedure, a special needle is placed at or near your source of pain. X-rays are used to carefully guide the needle into position. The needle emits heat that destroys (ablates) the nerve, turning it “off.”

Pain relief can last 12 months or longer. As the nerve endings regrow, the pain sensations may return. The RFTA procedure can be repeated to extend your relief.


Cervical Spine

Neck and Upper Back Pain

The cervical spine is your neck area. Pain in your shoulders and neck may be related to a problem in your cervical spine. Cervical nerve pain tends to cause tingling or numbness that can radiate from the neck to your hands. You may experience muscle spasms in your neck as well, which can lead to a loss of movement in your neck.

Facet joint disease can also affect the cervical spine, and cervical facet rhizotomy is a treatment option worth considering. Learn more in our patient education library, or call S.E. PA Pain Management for an appointment today.


Thoracic Spine

Middle Back Pain

Pain in your back that spreads to your chest and ribs may become serious enough to consider an RFTA procedure. Possible symptoms include muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, and stabbing pain.

If other forms of treatment for pain relief have failed, an RFTA procedure for the thoracic spine can turn off the nerve(s) that send pain signals to the brain. A spine specialist should be consulted to determine what treatment option is best for you.


Lumbar Spine

Low Back Pain

People with facet joint syndrome in the lumbar spine may be candidates for the RFTA procedure. Facet joint syndrome is associated with nerve pain inside the facet joints that causes serious pain in the lower back, buttocks, and back of the thighs.

Nerve pain can cause numbness, tingling, or stabbing sensations in these areas. Associated muscle pain can make it difficult to move at times. To learn more about lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy, contact S.E. PA Pain Management.

With locations all over southeastern Pennsylvania, finding a pain specialist to evaluate your spine is not far from home. To learn more and make an appointment at S.E. PA Pain Management, call us at (855) 235-PAIN.

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