Radiofrequency Therapy

Radiofrequency Therapy is a Pain Management procedure. In this technique, your doctor uses radiofrequency current — in essence, radio waves — to heat up nerve tissue at a site that’s causing you pain. The heat disables the nerve, thereby interrupting the pain signals from that area.

Radiofrequency Therapy can help manage chronic neck pain, chronic facial pain, chronic mechanical low back pain, chronic headaches and chronic malignant pain involving the nervous system. The pain relief lasts at least twelve months and may last much longer.

Preparation for Radiofrequency Therapy

A radiofrequency treatment usually takes about a half hour. On the day of your procedure, do not have anything to eat within six hours of your appointment. You may drink water up until two hours before the procedure.

Take your medications as normal except for insulin. Check with your doctor about adjusting your insulin dosage. Bring all your medications with you to your appointment.

After applying a local anesthetic to your skin, your doctor uses a cannula, a thin needle, to locate the nerve tissue to target. Your doctor uses a fluoroscope, which provides live X-ray images, to guide the cannula accurately. Once he has the needle where it needs to be, he inserts the electrode through the cannula and heats up the nerve.

You should feel little discomfort during the procedure. Following the injection, your doctor will place a bandage over the injection spot, and you’ll usually be monitored for 15 to 20 minutes before being discharged to go home. You must bring someone to your appointment to drive you home.

You should rest for a full day following Radiofrequency Therapy. You can resume your normal diet. Any bruising or swelling usually dissipates in a couple days.

More Information

For more information about nerve blocks and epidurals, refer to Southeastern Spine Institute’s Block Suite.