You are currently viewing RFA Radiofrequency Ablation Surgery For Back Pain

What is RFA or Radiofrequency Ablation & Dose It Heal Back Pain?

Chiropractic Specialty Center® (CSC) in Malaysia provides holistic non-invasive spine and joint treatments as an alternative to radiofrequency ablation, RFA, or rhizotomy. Headaches, neck pain, knee pain, and back pain patients with slip discs or facet mediated pain can recover without radiofrequency ablation; contact us today for more information. 

Radiofrequency ablation or RFA, also known as rhizotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure designed to help patients with spine or joint pain. RFA (radiofrequency ablation) burns and kills the pain-sensing nerves to stop them from sending painful sensations. Yes, RFA or radiofrequency ablation surgery aims to destroy the nerves by burning them with radio waves! The procedure is irreversible, as is the damage it causes to the nerves and soft tissues surrounding the nerve. This article will go over some of the common conditions treated by rhizotomy (RFA). 

Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is a procedure commonly performed on patients with the following conditions:

  1. Back pain: RFA for facet mediated back pain through surgery is treatable with CSC non-surgical back pain treatment
  2. Headaches: Occipital or cervicogenic head treated by radiofrequency is not better than CSC’s headache treatment.
  3. Neck pain: Understand your non-invasive neck pain treatment options before getting rhizotomy (RFA)
  4. Knee pain: CSC’s non-surgical knee pain treatment can repair knees without burning nerves with radiofrequency. 

How Is RFA Or Radiofrequency Ablation Surgery Done?

Radiofrequency ablation is when the surgeon inserts a needle under a live X-ray into the joint or area being treated. As mentioned, RFA can be performed on the knees, upper neck, low back, or any other joint in close vicinity to the nerve that senses pain.

Before the procedure, your surgeon will assess you to see if you’re a candidate and if your diagnosis fits with radiofrequency ablation surgery protocols. Once your surgeon has confirmed that you may benefit from RFA, they will take you to the procedure room, where they will inject a local anesthetic (steroids) To see if your pain diminishes. Often, they will repeat the same procedure a few days or a week later. If your symptoms improved following the local anesthetic given to the steroids injection, you will be scheduled for radiofrequency ablation surgery (RFA).

Radiofrequency ablation surgery will be sedated but conscious during the procedure. After all, it is spine surgery but a minimally invasive one. Once you have fallen asleep (sedated), specialized needles connected to a machine will be inserted around the area of pain. Keep in mind; the entire procedure is performed under live X-ray. A live X-ray is needed to ensure proper placement of the needles inserted into the area. Once the needles have been inserted in the appropriate position, the machine connected to the needles sends strong radio waves. These radio waves will heat the tip of the needles. Heating the tip of the needles is necessary as the goal with RFA is to burn the nerve and nearby tissues.

Will You Feel An Immediate Relief Of Pain Following Rhizotomy?

Unlike other procedures, you will not feel immediate relief from pain, and you may experience more soreness, tenderness, sensitivity, and the area surgically treated. Patients often report the pain and the burning sensation they feel as similar to a nasty sunburn. Those who recover usually report improvements within two to three weeks post the operative procedure.

What Is The Aim Of RFA For Neck & Back Pain?

Radiofrequency abolition (RFA) for back and neck pain patients is performed for facet-mediated pain. A facet-mediated pain is defined as pain that originates from spinal joints or facets.

Rhizotomy (RFA) for the spine or joints is not a cure! At best, it is a patch that causes irreparable nerve damage. Therefore, you may do better with non-invasive methods of care. If the non-invasive fails, traditional surgery is better. At least, with a conventional spine or joint surgery, your nerves will live.

How Is RFA Done For Patients With Back Pain?

They follow similar steps as was described above. But, before doing the actual procedure, they may first do a facet injection, where the surgeon injects steroids in your spinal joints 9facets) to see if it subsides the pain. Some surgeons may perform this procedure 1-2 times before doing an RFA or radiofrequency ablation procedure on you. Here are the steps for RFA on the spine:

  •  A procedure is usually done under local anesthetic
  • The needle is inserted under a live x-ray between the transverse process and the superior articulating process, directed at the nerve (medial branch). The medial branch innervates the muscles and spinal joints.
  • The inserted needle is connected to a machine that sends radio waves to the tip of the needles. These radiowaves aim to damage the tissues and nerves near the tip of the needle by heating them.

Medial Branch Nerve Destruction By Radiofrequency Ablation

As mentioned, the goal with radiofrequency ablation of the lumbar spine it’s two damage the medial branch of the spinal nerve near the facet (spinal joint). It’s important to understand that the medial branch of the spinal nerve is critical to your spine’s stability. To make this point clear, we have provided it the function of the medial branch of the spinal nerve beetle:

  1. It innervates and controls your spinal joints, and there are associated ligaments that connect this joint.
  2. Controls the sensation around your skin
  3. It controls spinal ligaments
  4. Innervates and controls the muscles next to your spine, the multifidus muscles.

How Important Is The Multifidus?

The multifidus muscles or essential stabilizers of the lumbar-sacral or lower back. As mentioned, the multifidus muscles or spinal stabilizers and your back will not last when your spinal stabilizers or no longer functioning because the nerves that control them were damaged or killed on purpose with RFA. The multifidus muscles are a group of triangular muscles that assist the lower spine during:

  1. Back extension (when the multifidus muscles are contacted on both sides of the spine
  2. Lateral bending or side-bending when the multifidus muscles are contacted on the same side as lateral bending (ipsilateral side)
  3. Rotation or twisting when the multifidus muscles are contracted on the opposite side of rotation active (contralateral side)

Radiofrequency ablation (rhizotomy or RFA) burns and kills the nerve that controls the function of the multifidus muscles. The multifidus muscles or enervated by the medial branch nerve (MB N) of the posterior ramus of the spinal nerve. When the medial branch nerve or MBN stops working, it leads to atrophy and degenerative changes in tissues it once controlled.

Damage, burning, or killing of the controlling nerve (MBN) of the multifidus msucles leads to degeneration and fatty tissue, the positions that replace healthy muscular fibers of the multifidus. Numerous published studies have documented fatty changes in the multifidus muscles as a culprit in chronic lower back pain development. In other words, radiofrequency ablation designed to get rid of back pain accomplishes the opposite, as it causes Irreparable spinal instability. As such, most patients treated by RFA will require more aggressive surgical interventions such as spinal fusions. 

With this in mind, we discourage patients from getting RFA radiofrequency ablation surgical procedures. Instead, we recommend alternatives to invasive procedures that chiropractors and physical therapists provide. Chiropractic Specialty Center® in Malaysia offers the best alternative to RFA (radiofrequency ablation) or any other type of surgical or spinal injection.

Radiofrequency Ablation For Headaches & Neck

Headaches and occipital neuralgia results when one or more of the first 3-4 nerves (from occiput to C3) are pinched or compressed. Headaches that arise from neck-related conditions are referred to as cervicogenic headaches. The difference between occipital neuralgia and cervicogenic headaches is the presence of parenthesis (burning sensation in the skull) in areas innervated by the greater or lesser occipital nerves or third occipital nerve.  

The RFA (radiofrequency ablation) procedure is like other areas treated by RFA; a local anesthetic injected at or near the third occipital nerve a couple of times (on different occasions). If the local anesthetics make you feel better, your surgeon will schedule radiofrequency ablation. 

A better alternative to RFA is getting the root causes of your neck and headaches treated conservatively without destroying, burning, and killing sensitive tissues. Therefore, we encourage all to schedule an appointment with us before you get steroid injections or radiofrequency ablation for holistic treatments that repairs the cause of your pain instead of burning sensitive nerves with rhizotomy (RFA)

RFA For Osteoarthritis Of The Knee

Radiofrequency procedure for knee pain is relatively the same procedure as discussed for back, headaches, and neck pain. The difference is that the procedure for the knee involves burning of more than one of the following nerves during RFA:

  1. Infrapatellar nerve
  2. Medial retinacular nerve
  3. Superolateral nerve
  4. Superomedial nerve
  5. Inferomedial nerve

Usually, the surgeons burn 2-3 nerves during the operation. However, this is not a cure, and it does not fix the cause of your knee, and it only kills the nerves that give warning singles of pain. 

Best Alternative To RFA (Radiofrequency Ablation Or Rhizotomy)

A targeted and focused treatment program that combines physiotherapy with chiropractic treatments is your best alternative to spine surgery, including the minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation. The best alternative to RFA is NSD Therapy®. NSD Therapy® is an integrated and noninvasive therapeutic procedure by chiropractors and physiotherapists of Chiropractic Specialty Center® (CSC) in Malaysia. Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy as provided through NSD Therapy® is fully customizable to meet the therapeutic challenges of various types of back pain. Here are some of the procedures often implemented for back patients through the NSD Therapy® methods of care:

CSC has been treating spine and joint patients for over 15-years. We have successfully eliminated severe and debilitating pain caused by facets and spinal discs with our customized treatment programs as given through NSD Therapy®. 

Learn more about services and locations where you can get the best alternative to RFA radiofrequency ablation or rhizotomy by calling our main center on 2093 1000 today. 

Leave a Reply