Your spine contains hundreds of fine, bundled nerves that convey information about sensation, including pain, to your brain. If you have chronic pain, your nerves can continue to keep firing off pain signals to your brain, even if you haven’t experienced a recent injury or trauma.
To break the feedback loop of your chronic pain cycle, Nichelle C. Renk, MD, of Alpenglow Pain & Wellness uses therapies including minimally invasive radiofrequency (RF) ablation. RF ablation may be able to provide lasting relief for your neck, midback, and low back spinal pain.
How does RF ablation work?
Dr. Renk uses radiofrequency ablation to target the nerves associated with your painful joints with an electric current. This heats your nerve endings and destroys them, effectively ending your chronic pain associated with that area. Your results with RF can last for six months, or even as long as two years.
When you come in for an RF ablation treatment, Dr. Renk makes sure you remain comfortable during the procedure. An injection of a local anesthetic numbs the treatment area, and Dr. Renk may recommend additional medications to keep you totally relaxed.
During treatment, Dr. Renk positions you on your stomach on an X-ray table. Then, she uses a small needle that contains an RF conductor to deliver an electrical current to the numbed treatment area. The electrical current “ablates,” or burns, the targeted nerves, blocking pain signals from reaching your brain.
After your treatment session, plan on about a day of downtime, taking time off from vigorous activity and avoiding driving. You typically see your best pain relief results about 1-3 weeks following your appointment.
RF ablation with COOLIEF®
Dr. Renk can also use the COOLIEF system to block nerve pain signals in cooled RF ablation procedures. With this FDA-approved technology, Dr. Renk targets the site of your pain, using circulating cooled water to heat and cool your tissues, ablate your nerves, and disrupt your pain cycle.
You can experience quick relief after your treatment session, with pain relief that may last for over a year.
Like traditional RF ablation, treatment with COOLIEF often involves a local anesthetic and mild sedation. After a similarly brief recovery period, you enjoy increased mobility and lasting relief from persistent pain.
How RF ablation can help you
RF ablation and cooled RF ablation can provide relief for patients with a wide range of pain conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Inflammatory pain, as in arthritis
- Pain related to whiplash or a trauma
- Pain associated with spinal surgeries such as fusion
If you have back or neck pain associated with the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar areas of your spine, RF ablation treatment may be the best way to relieve your pain long-term. We can use diagnostic nerve block injections to find out if you could be a good candidate for the RF ablation procedure.
Dr. Renk is one of only two providers in the state of Alaska offering both conventional and cold RF treatments. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Renk, contact her Anchorage, Alaska, office today. Call now to book your personal consultation.