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.

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.