If you’re one of the 50 million American adults living with chronic pain, you’re 1 in every 5 men and women you know. That's how common it is to deal with pain nearly every day of your life. And, also like most people, you’ve probably tried a variety of treatments and medications to combat your pain, but nothing has been as long-lasting as you would like.
At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness in Anchorage, Alaska, Dr. Nichelle Renk is a board-certified pain management physician who specializes in combining traditional and alternative medical protocols that provide long-term relief from chronic pain. One of these methods that you may not have considered is radiofrequency (RF) ablation.
Dr. Renk offers this innovative, highly successful treatment method, including the COOLIEF® cooled RF procedure, to provide a more enduring solution for stopping pain in its tracks. As one of only two providers in the state of Alaska to offer both conventional and cooled RF treatments, Dr. Renk is an expert in the field and can recommend which method is right for you.
Could radiofrequency ablation remedy your chronic pain? Here’s what you need to know.
Radiofrequency ablation blocks nerve pain signals
When you have chronic pain, the nerves in your knee joint,shoulder joint, back, neck, or other areas continually send signals to your brain so you’re nearly always in pain. In other words, pain becomes a disease of the nervous system. Chronic pain that goes on for months, or even years, often affects the quality of your life and your emotional well-being.
RF ablation blocks pain signals by using an electric current to destroy the nerve endings in a particular joint so they can no longer fire and make you feel pain. Ultimately, if you no longer deal with intense pain each day, you can live a more fulfilling life and become more active.
RF ablation is minimally invasive
This nonsurgical treatment is minimally invasive, and Dr. Renk performs it at the office. She numbs the treatment area with a local anesthetic and inserts a small needle into the location where your pain originates. Dr. Renk uses an X-ray machine during the entire procedure. This allows her to always know where the needle tip is located.
Next, Dr. Renk inserts a microelectrode through the needle, and you feel a tingling sensation during the safety testing. RF energy travels through the electrode to heat the nerves that have been sending the pain signals to your brain. After a short recovery period, you can go home to rest.
Downtime is minimal, and you can usually return to your normal activities the day after your RF ablation treatment.
Pain relief from radiofrequency ablation can last a few years
After radiofrequency ablation, many women and men experience pain relief that lasts 12 months or longer, depending on the area you’re having treated. RF ablation typically works well for adults with lower back and neck pain, and degenerative, arthritic joints. It’s an ideal alternative if you’ve tried medications and other treatments and didn’t get the relief you’d hoped for.
Radiofrequency ablation is also a non-opioid form of long-term pain relief, so you won’t have to worry about taking habit-forming drugs with unpleasant side effects.
How the COOLIEF system relieves pain
Like traditional RF ablation, COOLIEF RF ablation has a quick recovery period, and it offers long-term pain relief without surgery or pharmaceuticals. This treatment method is FDA-cleared for relief from osteoarthritis that causes chronic knee pain. In addition to relieving pain, COOLIEF can help improve mobility in your knee joint for up to 12 months.
Like traditional RF ablation, COOLIEF deactivates the nerves that send pain signals to your brain. However, the COOLIEF system uses water-cooled technology to stop pain signals in addition to heat.
Dr. Renk can safely treat large areas with the COOLIEF system, which can help improve the function of your affected joint, reduce dependence on pain medications, and provide long-lasting relief, all in a single, minimally invasive procedure.
Is RF ablation right for your chronic pain?
If you suffer from chronic back, neck, knee, or joint pain that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment methods, including pain medication and physical therapy, radiofrequency ablation may be right for you.
The best way to find out is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Renk by calling Alpenglow Pain & Wellness at our Anchorage, Alaska, office at 907-313-2976. You are also welcome to send us a message here on our website.