Radiofrequency Ablation Increasingly Being Used for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Radiofrequency ablationRadiofrequency 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 SI joint pain treatmentjoint 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.

SI joint arthritisFuture 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.

Pain clinics in Phoenix often provide RFA treatments, which are also known as radiofrequency lesioning. When looking for a Henderson or Phoenix pain clinic, make sure RFA is offered.

Where Could Your Shoulder Pain be Coming From?

At some point during life, two out of three individuals will experience shoulder pain. For a decent amount of those people who have shoulder pain, it is not actually coming from the shoulder. Where else could it be coming from?Pain Management Phoenix

One of the most common areas of shoulder pain coming from outside the joint is from the neck. If an individual has either a herniated disc that is pushing on a cervical nerve roots or spinal stenosis that is pushing on one or multiple nerve roots, that can lead to referred pain in the shoulder that may masquerade as originating from the shoulder.

Another source of pain that refers to the shoulder is from the biceps tendon. The biceps itself has two origins, one in the shoulder and one actually outside it. If it’s gets inflamed and tendinitis is occurring, a person may complain of shoulder pain when actuality it is coming from the tendon and should be treated as such.

It is a little-known fact that carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain that goes backwards into the shoulder. Another potential source of shoulder pain from outside the joint is from

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A cervical herniated disc may lead to pain in the shoulder.

the acromioclavicular joint, called the AC joint for short. This is the joint where the clavicle meets up with the acromion. It is a small joint, but can cause a lot of shoulder area pain if it is arthritic and inflamed.

There is a nerve called the suprascapular nerve that may become pinched in the spinoglenoid notch. This may cause pain and weakness in the shoulder, but the source of the pain is actually not in the joint at all.

A cardiac event can refer pain into the shoulder, specifically the left shoulder. This may cause pain that appears to emanate from the shoulder, but in actuality it is occurring from angina or an ongoing cardiac event.

For a physician working up shoulder pain, it is often evident on physical examination that the shoulder is not actually the source of the pain. It also may take a diagnostic Injection into either the joint or the subacromial space to see if that relieves the discomfort. if it does, the shoulder can be assumed as being the generation of the pain.

The most concerning external source of shoulder pain is obviously the potential for a cardiac event, so physicians should have a low threshold for getting this worked up emergently if suspected.

The bottom line here is that just because a person is having shoulder pain, does not mean

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Rotator cuff problems lead to shoulder pain.

that the shoulder is actually causing that pain. It may be coming from somewhere else and simply referring pain in.

If you live in the Phoenix or Henderson area and are experiencing shoulder pain, a pain clinic in Phoenix can help delineate whether or not your shoulder pain is actually coming from the shoulder. Pain management Phoenix clinics have Board Certified doctors and Phoenix chiropractor doctors who are experts in the workup and treatment of shoulder pain.

What to Expect With an Epidural Steroid Injection

When an individual is suffering from sciatica due to a pinched nerve, the pain may be excruciating. It may prevent a person from being able to work, play with their kids, concentrate or enjoy life for weeks to months.Sciatica treatment

Of the various treatments that can help reduce the pain of sciatica, epidural steroid injections at a Phoenix pain management clinic are one of the best ways of making life much more tolerable for individuals.

When an epidural steroid injection is recommended by a Phoenix pain management doctor, it is performed as an outpatient with the person being able to go home the same day. The procedure itself does not require either oral or IV sedation, however, some patients are used to that or have significant anxiety and want to have sedation. Often times, the procedure is performed simply with numbing medicine around the skin and through the soft tissues down to the bone overlying the spine.

Modern Phoenix pain doctors use either ultrasound guidance or fluoroscopy, which is a real-time form of x-ray. This allows for the highest level of accuracy available, as previous studies have shown without image guidance the miss rate for epidural injections is as high as 40%.

Phoenix pain managementPatients are usually placed on their belly on a well padded table that allows x-rays to go right through. The procedure itself takes approximately 10 to 30 minutes depending on the difficulty encountered with needle placement.

Once the needle is satisfactorily placed, the pain doctor will place contrast in the area to make sure it is successful. At that point numbing medicine along with steroid medication is injected to relieve the sciatica pain.

The patient is then taken to the recovery area and watched for approximately 30 to 60 minutes to make sure no allergic reaction occurs and the vital signs remain stable.

Pain relief may be immediate with an epidural steroid injection. Also it may be immediate and then wear off after a day once the numbing medicine wears off. When that occurs, steroid medication will often “kick in” after three days or so and may last for weeks to months.

Many studies have looked at the effectiveness of epidural steroid injections for sciatica. Overall, the good to excellent results occur in 75 to 90 individuals. The duration of pain relief is typically six weeks to upwards of 2 to 3 months. At that point, the injections may be repeated. Typically an individual will receive a series of three injections 1 to 2 weeks apart.

The risks of epidural steroid injections are small but real. There is a risk of infection, bleeding, nerve injury which is usually transient, and allergic reaction. A person may also have some transient reaction to the cortisone used, which may include a temporary blood sugar increase or slight weight gain or water retention.Pain Clinic Phoenix

Overall, epidural steroid injections are some of the most beneficial procedures in pain management today. If you are experiencing significant sciatica pain or what you think may be due to a pinched nerve, seek treatment with pain management Phoenix trusts today.

Treatment may include epidural injections and also possibly pain medication, Phoenix chiropractor treatment, physical therapy, acupuncture or spinal decompression therapy.

What to Expect With a Radiofrequency Ablation

For chronic neck or back pain, radiofrequency ablation has been one of the best technological advancements in pain management in the 21st-century. It is just not every Radiofrequency Ablationday when a Phoenix pain management procedure comes along that can provide 6 to 18 months of consistent pain relief.

Along with offering pain relief for chronic neck and back pain, radiofrequency ablation has also shown benefit for headaches, sacroiliac joint pain and more. What should patients expect from a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedure?

First of all, radiofrequency procedures are performed as an outpatient either in a Phoenix pain clinic procedure center or at a separate surgery center. Some patients opt for either intravenous oral oral sedation, which may include the patient taking a Valium 30 minutes prior to the procedure. Other patients require no anesthesia at all other than having the skin numbed up and the soft tissues numbed down to the area of where the procedure is radiofrequency neurotomygoing to be performed.

Almost all Phoenix pain doctors utilize image guidance for the procedure, which usually includes fluoroscopy, which is a real-time form of x-ray.

The pain management Phoenix doctor places the radiofrequency needles into the area around the joints being treated. Once they are in place, the needles are stimulated to make sure they are not close to an actual nerve root.

If an arm or a leg jumps as a result of the stimulation, the doctor will reposition the needle until that does not occur. The nerves being treated are not nerve roots, rather they are tiny little nerve endings that only provide sensation.

Radiofrequency Neurotomy

Radiofrequency neurotomy procedures work well for facet joint arthritis.

Once accurate placement is achieved, the needles are heated up to approximately 80°C for 60 to 90 seconds. This will heat up and deaden the tiny nerve endings around the painful joints.

Once this is completed, patients are taken to the recovery room and monitored for 30 to 60 minutes to make sure that no allergic reaction occurs and vital signs remained stable. Patients are then allowed to go home.

The effectiveness of radiofrequency ablation procedures is extremely good to excellent. Over 75% of patients achieve more than 50% pain relief for over six months. The procedure may not work right away, and there may be some muscle spasms and it may take one to two weeks for pain relief begins to work.

If the procedure works well and then wears off after 6 to 18 months, a repeat radiofrequency ablation procedure has been shown to work just as well as the initial one. If you are suffering from chronic neck or back pain, Phoenix pain clinics can help evaluate you for this revolutionary treatment.

Pain Management Education Is Deficient in American Medical Schools

A new study out of the Journal of Pain shows that pain management education in American medical schools is limited and fragmentary. Chronic pain affects over one third of United States adults, and the treatment of pain often is in adequate. Along with that, we now know that pain education for the future doctors of America is inadequate as well.

This is surprising considering the depth of the problem in the American population. The researchers looked at US medical schools to see what kind of pain management education was being offered and how many medical schools provided that type of education.

Less than 4% of US medical schools taught a required pain course. 16% of the schools offered an elective in pain management education.

Most US medical schools do not teach any courses on pain management, in addition another large number of schools have fewer than five hours of pain education in a four-year period. The researchers use the term fragmentary in regards to pain management being taught in the context of a more general course which is not really focused on pain much at all.

Pain is one of the most common reasons people in America go to see a doctor or to an emergency room. Typically about an hour is spent in medical school on opioid pharmacology and not much else. The researchers noted that some of the areas that are under educated include cancer pain, pediatric pain, and legal issues pertaining to narcotic medications.

With such a considerable amount of regulatory effort being spent on going after doctors prescribing pain medication, it would seem prudent for education to be offered rather than simply punishment.

One of the recommendations that came out of the study was to increase the number of required pain focused courses that are offered in medical schools and to place pain management into a more organized in formal delivery system. The researchers noted that both emotional and intellectual skills are important when it comes to providing compassionate and educated pain management for patients.

When seeking pain management doctors in Phoenix and Henderson areas, make sure the ones under consideration for you have either finished fellowship training specifically in pain management or are Board Certified. A fellowship entails a complete year in learning the ins and outs of interventional procedures along with medication management for pain relief treatment.

Along with simply increasing the knowledge base for effectively treating their patients, they have also learned the emotional aspects of dealing with pain management as well.

If you or a loved one is suffering from acute or chronic pain, seek the best pain management doctors and chiropractors in Phoenix and Henderson today. 

New Research Shows Radiofrequency Ablation Works Well for Whiplash

Whiplash is a problem that results mostly from car accidents. Approximately 3,000,000 people annually sustain whiplash injuries in the US, which leads to damage of the Whiplash painligaments and joints in the neck. The surrounding muscles can also experience damage and spasms as well.

15% of those who sustain whiplash end up with chronic neck pain that lasts for years. Since chronic neck pain often responds well to radiofrequency ablation, a recent study looked at RF procedures for those who had chronic pain from whiplash.

In the study, approximately 60 participants were evaluated and the results were presented at the World Congress of Pain meeting.

The participants had gone through at least six months of conservative treatment which may have consisted of physical therapy, medications, chiropractic treatment and those sorts of therapies.

Radiofrequency ablation worked exceptionally well in over 65% of the study group.

The patients typically experienced pain relief for over six months on average. Along with seeing significant pain reduction, patients experienced functional improvements and there was a significant return to work percentage.

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Radiofrequency Ablation

It is no secret that cervical radiofrequency ablation works well for chronic neck pain due to arthritis of the cervical facet joints. Now we have evidence showing those who end up with chronic pain after a whiplash injury can also see excellent results with radiofrequency ablation.

Along with RFA for neck pain due to whiplash, additional treatments that may help include physical therapy Phoenix, chiropractic manipulations, TENS units, trigger point injections, facet blocks and spinal decompression therapy.

Call a Phoenix chiropractor, pain doctor, or PT clinic to get started on your neck pain treatment today!