Radiofrequency ablation of spinal joints is one of the most technologically advanced procedures in pain management today. The procedure has been shown to provide excellent pain relief for those with arthritis of the lumbar spinal joints along with the mid back and neck.
Those joints are called facet joints and are about the size of a thumbnail. Research in the past has shown that radiofrequency ablation may provide 12 to 18 months of consistent pain relief, which is significantly longer than what a steroid injection typically provides. (Spine 28:16, 1877-1878)
Over the last couple years, the technology has been used by Phoenix pain doctors also treat sacroiliac joint pain. Little-known fact by most people is that sacroiliac joint pain causes between 12 and 25% of low back pain. (Spine 2009, 34:1, 31-37) That has not been a considerable amount of research looking at how effective the technology is For SI joint pain, however, a recent study was presented at this years American Academy of pain medicine meeting.
What that study did was evaluate 80 patients at the Cleveland cClinic who underwent the procedure. The study showed that over half of the patients in the study experienced over 50% pain relief for upwards of six months.
Studies in the lumbar spine have shown a longer duration of pain relief. Sometimes upwards of 18 months. However, future studies for SI joint pain with a larger number of patients may end up showing better and longer pain relief.
Dealing with sacroiliac joint pain can be tough. There’s no great surgical solution. Injections of steroid into the sacroiliac joint may bring significant pain relief for a few weeks to a few months. However, the joint is fairly irregular and sometimes difficult to achieve steroid placement in the complete arthritic area causing the pain. Chiropractic treatment along with physical rehabilitation and anti-inflammatory medication by mouth can provide significant pain relief as well.
One of the most difficult aspects of pain management is achieving lengthy blocks of time that pain can be relieved with existing procedures. This is one of the reasons why radiofrequency ablation has become so popular at pain management Phoenix clinics, is that it provides a much longer time. The pain relief as compared to steroid injections. Thankfully a showing significantly beneficial results for sacroiliac joint pain.
Future research will delineate the best methods of applying this technique and sacroiliac joint pain. When used in conjunction with existing pain management medications and therapies, it presents hope to those dealing with pain emanating from this joint.