Radio waves generate electric currents to produce heat in the small parts of nerve tissues. This process essentially burns or removes the nerve from the neck, lower back, and arthritic joints and thus it cuts the route of sending the pain signals from those nerve endings to the brain and reduces the pain and discomfort. This is commonly named as radiofrequency ablation and sometimes as rhizotomy. This procedure is usually used to treat arthritis of the spine (spondylosis) and sacroiliitis and chronic or fetal pain in the neck, back, knees, pelvis and peripheral areas of the body. This is a non-surgical process and a shorter recovery period makes it most preferred process among individuals who have jobs and have little or no time to rest.
This treatment is very simple and easy to follow but as all medical procedures create side effects, the radiofrequency ablation also has some side effects on the human body. This procedure assists via injections and the immediate symptoms after the procedure is:
- Mild rash and tickling around the area of injection.
- Skin burns around the area of injection that appears on the skin as sunburn.
These side effects usually last for a couple of days and normal ice packs and soothing gels can treat the symptoms in some cases, if persists, may last for several weeks. The above-mentioned symptoms mostly appear in the neck region than mid or lower back. These symptoms are uncomfortable but not hurtful. But there are chances that the medications prescribed to treat these symptoms are not suitable for the patient and can cause irritation, numbness or infections that can lead to painful consequences.
Success Rate of Radiofrequency Ablation
According to a well-articulated study, Radiofrequency ablation is 70-80% effective in patients who have successful nerve blocks. The doctor can repeat the procedure if the nerve regrows in 6-12 months.
Precautions before the treatment
The patients are usually advised not to eat within 6 hours of treatment appointment. But they can continue their intake of liquid diet before 2 hours of the treatment. Those patients who have diabetes should adjust the amount and intake timings of insulin according to doctor’s advice as it varies from patient to patient.
Healthy Lifestyle and Diet
The removed nerves, with radiofrequency ablation, have a tendency to grow again within 6-12 months. But good diet and an active lifestyle can handle and prevent the condition from re-occurring. A sluggish lifestyle and bad eating habits can increase the chances of nerve regrowth and this consequently can worsen the condition by being more complicated and painful. Repeating the procedure in the same area again and again after certain intervals of time will make the problem even worse.
Eating clean can help avoid and prevent re-growth. The green vegetables and citrus fruits with a balanced intake of liquids throughout the day can help prevent the condition from re-occurring.
This procedure is easy and mostly have no side effects. The eating clean and fresh habits and active lifestyle recommended by doctors and practitioners can help avoid and prevent a recurrence.