If you’re suffering from cervical neck pain and haven’t found a solution to your pain or the solutions that used to work are no longer effective, our award-winning pain specialists with offices in Downtown Brooklyn and New York City can help. Recovery from neck pain is possible with the use of Facet Joint Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA). At Downtown Pain Physicians, same day RFA is possible and can lead to long-term neck pain relief.
Most people who are prime candidates for cervical ablation have been suffering from chronic neck pain for a long time. They’ve tried other treatments such as pharmaceuticals, nerve blocks, and injections. Some receive relief from their neck pain with these treatments but it’s only temporary. Our doctors will thoroughly explain what your treatment options are, they will take a detailed history, and will determine if cervical radiofrequency ablation is right for you.
What is Cervical Ablation or RFA?
Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves, or electromagnetic waves, that travel at the speed of light to create heat and destroy the nerve tissue that’s causing your neck pain. They can provide pain relief when other methods fail to resolve your neck pain or if your previously successful methods are no longer working. Their success is longer-term than nerve blocks and other types of injections and they’re most often used for people who suffer from chronic cervical pain.
What Does Radiofrequency Ablation Treat?
Radiofrequency ablation doesn’t just treat neck pain, it’s very effective at treating many different conditions and concerns such as:
- Thyroid nodules
- Chronic venous insufficiency in the legs
- Chronic mid and low back pain
- Chronic neck pain
- Degenerative back problems
- Chronic arthritis
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Past spinal surgery pain
- Nerve entrapment syndrome
- Cervicogenic headaches
- Occipital neuralgia
Should You Have Radiofrequency Ablation?
At our pain relief clinic, we will first meet with you to see if you’re a good candidate for RFA. We’ll discuss your symptom and treatment history. Once we get a handle on your specific pain symptoms, then we can begin customizing a treatment plan that’s centered around you and uses state-of-the-art technology to give you optimum results. You will always be treated as an individual in our office and given the care that’s designed specifically for you.
Before doing RFA, your doctor might decide to do a diagnostic block to make sure you’re a good candidate for this procedure. During a diagnostic block, an anesthetic is injected into the source of pain and, if it works, pain is immediately gone. The pain will return as this is a temporary solution, but it’s a great indicator that RFA will work.
If we’ve decided to go ahead with RFA and there are no additional underlying concerns, having RFA as an outpatient procedure in our downtown NYC clinics is an option. There are three different types of RFA procedures we offer.
Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation (PRF).This is where a needle is heated and it delivers a high-voltage current in short bursts.
Conventional Continuous Radiofrequency Ablation (CRF).In this procedure the needle is heated to a higher temperature and a continuous high-voltage current is used
Water-Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation (WCRF).This technique uses a similar heated-needle procedure, but water is added to help keep the current flow steady and to prevent overheating of the needle. WCRF is typically used for larger ablation procedures.
“BEST MEDICAL PRACTICE”
Best medical practice I have in my entire life received the best treatment for multiple injuries I received causing pain and he has also provided the best treatment to my son as well. Dr. Raval takes his time always returns my calls and has treated my son and me as his own family. The staff is all amazing and professional. I would give them more than a 5 Star. So grateful they exist.
Dr. Raval was extremely professional, thorough, and kind. He explained everything he was doing as he did it and really helped to put my mind at ease. He also recommended a physical therapist for further treatment. Great doctor, great visit. Highly recommended.
Diagnosing Post-Laminectomy Syndrome
RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that only requires mild sedation in most situations. You will be asked to lie on your stomach or side and the doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then a radiofrequency needle will be injected into the area and, with X-ray guidance, the culprit nerve(s) is targeted with a high current.
The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes and the use of numbing medication and a sedative minimizes the discomfort you’ll feel. If you feel any pain, a more numbing agent can be used. After that, you should only feel the warmth.
Preparing for Cervical Radiofrequency Ablation
Your doctor will give you specific instructions that are customized to reflect any medications you may take and special precautions that might be necessary for your situation.
But generally, the following steps are necessary for the best results when having cervical ablation.
- Arrange for transportation home from the procedure (do not drive yourself)
- Do not drink or eat for at least six hours before the procedure
- If you’re diabetic do not take medication until after the ablation or consult with doctor
- If you take other medications and you’re approved to take them before your ablation procedure, you may take them with a small amount of water
- Avoid aspirin for at least 11 days prior to the procedure
- Do not wear jewelry to the office on the day of your procedure
- Wear clothing that is easy to don and doff, a button or zip front shirt is recommended
The most confusing thing about post-laminectomy syndrome is that it is so individualized and difficult to define. It really is simply pain that happens after a person has laminectomy surgery. It shouldn’t be assumed that because you’re having pain after surgery that the surgery failed, it could simply be that your body is having a difficult time recovering and will be fine, given enough time.
Cervical Ablation Aftercare
Aftercare requires about half an hour of rest for you while our staff monitors your vital signs, discusses any heat or pain sensations you might be having. We suggest you rest for the remainder of the day. As with any sedation, it’s important that you do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or make any important decisions. Body aches for the first few days are common and each person recovers from that at their own pace.
It’s important to know that your pain relief may not be immediate or complete. It varies from person to person, but it could take hours to weeks for the full effects of RFA to be felt. Likewise, your pain relief may last months or a year or longer. It is possible for nerves to grow back which means that some people require the procedure again.
When you’re feeling better and your pain is gone, it is advised that you ease into activities and slowly work on regaining your physical strength. Diving in too hard and too soon after any procedure can invite injury. A slow and steady path to resuming the life you want to live is the best approach to long-term health without neck pain.
The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.
Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.
- Board Certified
- Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
Education & training
- SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
- Rutgers University Fellowship