Back pain is incredibly common in the United States — nearly 65 million people report a recent experience with back pain, and 16 million people deal with ongoing back pain that severely limits their lives.
If you count yourself among these numbers, you want to find a solution that doesn’t just deliver hours or days of relief, but a treatment that can go the distance and allow you to live your life again.
One such treatment may be a rhizotomy, or radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which can deliver longer-lasting results for back pain. At Bux Pain Management, Dr. Anjum Bux and our experienced team of spine specialists often turn to RFA procedures to help our patients find meaningful relief, and we might be able to do the same for you.
Here’s a look at how a rhizotomy works.
Going straight to the source
With a rhizotomy, our goal is to disable the nerve(s) that’s sending the pain signaling to your brain. To do this, we deliver radiofrequency energy into the nerve fibers, which essentially “burns” the nerve, preventing it from emitting signals.
An RFA procedure can provide a year or more of relief, but results can vary greatly from one person to the next depending upon the rate of nerve regrowth.
Types of conditions a rhizotomy can treat
To give you an idea of the many applications of an RFA procedure, we routinely use it to treat:
- Facet joint pain
- Sacroiliac joint pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
This treatment essentially targets hyperactive nerves that are compressed by structures in your spine, which means it’s not called for if your back pain is due to a muscle strain.
Is an RFA procedure right for you?
Before we perform an RFA procedure, we want to make sure we’re targeting the right nerve or nerve group. In almost all cases, we first start with an interventional injection. For example, we may first administer a temporary nerve block to see what results we get. If you experience relief, it means we’ve identified the right nerve, and the odds are good that you might benefit from a rhizotomy.
As well, if we’ve been administering spinal injections, such as epidural injections and sacroiliac joint injections, and you experience relief with these injections, an RFA procedure will likely have the same effect, except it will last longer.
Undergoing a rhizotomy
We perform your rhizotomy here in our offices, and we use fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to ensure we target the right area. The ablation itself takes just moments, and you’re free to return home afterward. Over the next few days, you should realize gradual pain relief as the nerve block takes hold.
If you want to take the next step in determining whether a rhizotomy is right for you, contact one of our locations in Lexington, Maysville, Cynthiana, or Danville, Kentucky, to set up an appointment.