Radiofrequency (RF) thermocoagulation is a safe, proven means of interrupting pain signals. Radiofrequency current is used to heat up a small volume of nerve tissue, thereby interrupting pain signals from that particular area. Radiofrequency techniques have been available for treating various pain disorders since the early 1970s. Since the 1980s physicians specializing in chronic pain diagnosis and treatment have found an increasing number of applications for this established technology.
Some more common medical conditions which respond to radiofrequency techniques include chronic low back pain, thoracic spine pain, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Traditional techniques to destroy painful nerves have used chemicals such as phenol or alcohol. Unfortunately, these techniques have significant side effects due to the limited ability to control the spread of these liquids. Radiofrequency needles, accurately placed with the aid of fluoroscopic X-ray machines, generate local heat at the tip when the electrical current is applied, which can be precisely controlled to thermocoagulation painful nerves with minimal tissue damage. The procedures can be performed with little trauma using local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.
What Are The Benefits Of Radiofrequency Treatments?
Radiofrequency treatments for pain in Scottsdale, AZ at Southwest Spine & Sports offer a number of great benefits to improve quality of life, including:
- Reduces a wide variety of pain and discomfort
- Improves overall function
- No surgery or medications
- Little to no risk of side effects
- Quick and easy outpatient procedure
- Recovery time is short
What if the pain relief doesn't last?
Radiofrequency treatment of tissue usually blocks pain signals for a prolonged period of time. However, the human body may regenerate pain pathways over time. It is not unusual that the procedure may need to be repeated at some point in the future.
What is the typical procedure?
You will be asked to lie flat on your stomach. After the local anesthetic and IV medication for sedation are administered, the doctor will insert a small needle into the area where you experience pain.
Under the guidance of an X-ray, the doctor will guide the needle to the exact target area. A microelectrode then will be inserted through the needle to begin the stimulation process. During this process, the doctor will ask you if you feel a tingling sensation. The object of the stimulation process is to help the doctor determine if the electrode is in the optimal area for treatment to produce the most relief.
Once the needle electrode placement is verified, treatment can begin. A small radiofrequency (RF) current will travel through the electrode into the surrounding tissue, causing the tissue to heal and eliminate pain pathways. You should alert the doctor if at any time during the procedure you experience discomfort, especially in the extremities. Otherwise, you may experience a slight burning or pressure sensation at the site of the injection.
"Nurse Practitioner Sheila Janisch is an integral and incredible part of SWSS. Sheila truly cares about her patients and goes above and beyond to provide outstanding care. Sheila has personally helped me to be able to live a better life with her help. I can't recommend her enough! Sheila doesn't treat her patients as just an injury or an ailment but she gets to know her patients and really listens to them. I give both Sheila and Dr. Wolff my highest recommendation! 10 out of 10!!!"- M.C. / Google / Sep 02, 2022
"yesterday I came for my second visit and I was put at ease from the moment I came in. Doctor Wolff was referred to me by another top notch doctor. I was not disappointed. His expertise and confidence shows. Not that he needs a review to confirm this, but just wanted to give credit where it is due. I appreciate the work he has done towards my back recovery."- R.P. / Healthgrades / Sep 01, 2022
"I was referred to Dr. Wolff by another outstanding Doctor. Doctor Lakin, the best Internist in the Valley. I was impressed by a great caring staff that put me at ease during a difficult time. I have a lot of treatment to go, but thus far, Dr. Wolff was by far the best back/spine doctor I have been to. You would not be disappointed going here for treatment."- R.P. / Yelp / Aug 31, 2022
"Dr. Wolff changed my life twice! The first time he treated me for severe lower lumbar pain that had plagued me for over 20 years. After his prescribed treatments I was pain free for 2 years. Then after I was rear-ended in an car accident, I had lower back, hip and SI joint pain that was once again quite debilitating. After many months of physical therapy trying to resolve the issues, Dr. Wolff’s pain management treatments once again got me back on my feet. Its been nearly 3 years and I’m still feeling great!"- M.P. / Yelp / Jul 29, 2022
"Dr. Wolff is a life saver. After months of struggling with a shoulder and neck pain, he took control of my diagnosis and treatment plan. Absolutely exceptional doctor and how often do you heart that?"- D.F. / Google / May 20, 2022
Am I a Candidate for Radiofrequency Treatments?
The best candidates for radiofrequency pain treatments at Southwest Spine and Sports are those who have chronic back or spine pain that has thus far been largely resistant to other forms of pain management. By using radiofrequency thermocoagulation, our Scottsdale, AZ team can treat the pathways that cause pain without invasive and risky surgery. This procedure may also be a great option for those who wish to improve function and activity levels as well as those who would like to stop using over-the-counter or prescription pain pills.
What are the risks of radiofrequency thermocoagulation?
As with any procedure, there are some inherent risks, although most of these are minimal. Common risks include but are not limited to bruising, bleeding, headaches, irritation of a nerve or nerve injury, including paralysis, numbness, and weakness. Risks also include infection or reactions to the medications which may cause breathing difficulties and cardiac difficulties which may lead to death. Serious risks and complications are extremely rare, however.
- Stop taking all aspirin, aspirin products, and all nonsteroidal - except Celebrex- 5 days before the procedure.
- If you have questions regarding these types of products or their discontinuation, you should discuss this with one of our staff
- If you take fish oil or Vitamin E supplementation, please stop these 5 days before the injection.
- Do not eat for 6 hours or drink 2 hours before the procedure. You may take routine a.m. medications with a small amount of water
- For your safety, you must have a responsible adult to drive you home. Failure to have a driver may result in the cancellation of your procedure. Taxis are not permitted.
How Radiofrequency Treatments can help you
Radiofrequency treatments are used to reduce pain. The nerve which is responsible for the pain signals is heated up by radio waves, which in turn decreases pain signals from that specific area.
Radiofrequency Treatments FAQs
What should I not do after radiofrequency treatments?
You will need to arrange for a ride home, so be sure to have this arranged before your appointment. Following your radiofrequency treatments, we recommend avoiding high-impact exercise or activities for an entire day following your treatment. Hydration will be key for your recovery as your muscles adjust to the treatment.
How often should I have treatment?
The goal of your radiofrequencey treatments is to end pain in certain muscular regions. However, there are some cases in which patients do not receive the pain relief they want from just one treatment. In this case, our providers at SWSS will work with you to establish more treatment after 2-3 weeks have elapsed.
Will I be in pain after treatment?
Ultimately, this procedure yields amazing pain relief results. However, there can be some time between treatments before you get full relief from your symptoms. You may even notice a spike in pain as your nerves are stimulated after treatment, but you should notice significant improvements over the next 3 weeks.