Chronic back, knee and hip pain can be debilitating for anyone. Depending on the level of pain, it can adversely affect your quality of life.
Radiofrequency is a nondrug, nonsurgical alternative technique that has proven to provide safe and long-lasting pain relief. The treatment is a favorable option for alleviating chronic and often hard-to-treat pain.
Once the nerves that cause your pain are correctly identified, radiofrequency waves are then used to destroy the tissue around the nerves. In turn, this disrupts the pain signals sent to the brain. The bad tissue is destroyed while the pain-causing nerves are destroyed through this safe treatment.
Originally designed to treat lower back pain, radiofrequency treatment is being used more and more to treat other parts of the body, including the knees and hips.
About 16 percent of adults 45 years and older live with chronic knee pain, while 10 percent suffer from chronic hip pain. So, it is likely that, if it’s not you, you know someone who is affected by chronic pain.
Clinical studies show that radiofrequency treatment is far more effective than the more conservative methods for reducing hip pain. The treatment interrupts sensory input from the obturator and femoral nerves that work with the hip joint.
Let’s take a closer look at how radiofrequency works for these areas of your body to drastically alleviate pain and improve blood flow.
How Radiofrequency Lesioning Works
There are many areas of the body, including the hips, knees, and spine, that contain sensory nerves which become highly active in certain pain conditions. The sensory nerves, however, can be temporarily destroyed with the help of a precise thermal lesion that is delivered via radiofrequency currents through an insulated needle.
The radiofrequency current has been identified as the safest form of delivering a heat lesion since the lesion remains the same size, no matter the duration of heating.
Real-time X-ray guidance is used to find the location of the pain and a segment of the targeted nerve sealed with careful attention to avoid any close by vascular structures or motor nerves. When the sensory nerves have been deactivated, there is usually a significant improvement in blood flow and pain. Also, the surrounding muscles start to show an improvement in function as pain subsides.
Who Is a Candidate for Radiofrequency Treatment?
Hip and Back Pain Patients
Radiofrequency is used for the treatment of hip and spinal facet joint pain. Often, it is used in conjunction with stem cell back injections.
The nerves targeted for back pain are the medial branch nerves. They can be found just outside your spinal canal and are easy to access for radiofrequency lesioning along with x-ray guidance.
By destroying the nerves that cause pain to your back or hips, we allow for supportive muscles to rebuild along with profound pain relief.
Knee Pain Patients
There are three sensory nerves that surround our knees, called genicular nerves. A radiofrequency procedure can ablate the nerves and may be used in a number of scenarios. Often, the procedure is used along with a regenerative knee injection like a stem cell procedure which helps to diminish pain, expedite healing, and improve blood flow.
Radiofrequency can also be used as a standalone pain relief option for patients who experience ongoing pain and prefer not to undergo surgery.
Thirdly, the procedure is an excellent way of providing postoperative relief in those patients with ongoing pain despite having had surgery, such as a knee replacement.
Overall, radiofrequency is most commonly used for patients who experience pain or chronic conditions like arthritis.
The Outcomes of Radiofrequency Procedures
Many patients respond well to just one session of radiofrequency, so it may be all you need to alleviate pain in your back, knee or hips.
But, different patients do react differently, depending on your condition and the cause of it, as well as whether or not you have any underlying medical conditions.
Typically, most patients require just one or two sessions to experience dramatic improvement, making radiofrequency an excellent alternative to surgical procedures.