If you are experiencing facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain due to arthritis or other effects from degeneration, radiofrequency may be a possible treatment. The goal of radiofrequency is to halt the pain signals to the brain by applying a heat lesion to the nerve that is thought to be sending those signals. Essentially, certain nerves are being destroyed in order to relieve the pain symptoms. The surgery usually takes between 30 to 90 minutes and patients are allowed to go home the same day that they have the procedure. There are several types of radiofrequency methods and your choice will depend on where the pain signals are originating from.
A medial branch neurotomy is a type of radiofrequency procedure that aims for nerves sending pain signals from the facet joints. Facet joints are found within most levels of the spine, the main exception being the top level. A lateral branch neurotomy aims for nerves sending pain from the sacroiliac joints. Sacroiliac joints connect the pelvis to the sacrum, the latter being a triangular shaped bone found at the bottom of the spine.
Before a radiofrequency procedure, a doctor will first perform a medial branch nerve block in order to prove that the patient’s pain is coming from the suspected nerves. If the pain is not coming from those nerves, then it may be better to consider an alternative treatment. Other procedures, such as a facet joint injection or sacroiliac joint injection, will have also been attempted by this time. The conditions that are meant to be treated by radiofrequency usually result in symptoms like back pain and a limited range of motion.
If you are experiencing back pain symptoms and are trying to determine if radiofrequency procedures are best for you, it is best to speak with a pain expert first about your condition. Everyone will have a different cause and recovery method. Radiofrequency is often not the first choice for your path to pain relief. The doctors at Garden State Pain can help discuss your pain with you and go over what the best options are. Contact one of our New Jersey offices today to learn more.