Radiofrequency ablation, commonly referred to as RFA, is a treatment used to reduce frequent or persistent pain. RFA is commonly used to help those suffering from arthritis find relief from joint pain in the back and neck.


During an RFA procedure, a skilled physician will insert a needle and a small device called a microelectrode into the affected nerve tissue. The microelectrode generates an electrical current that heats up the area, decreasing its ability to signal pain. While it may seem frightening, RFA is a simple outpatient procedure. In many cases, you won’t even need to be sedated, many providers will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Each individual is different, but in most cases relief from pain following an RFA treatment can last several months to many years.


Following a radiofrequency ablation procedure, you will be able to resume normal activities within just a few days. You will be advised not to drive or operate heavy machinery within 24 hours, but you will be able to eat normally without any dietary restrictions.

If you experience minimal discomfort, swelling, or bruising at the site where the needle was inserted, do not be alarmed, this is common. In rare cases patients may experience infection or bleeding. However, RFA is a safe pain management approach and most patients respond well to the treatment.

If you are suffering from pain in the back or neck and want to learn more about radiofrequency ablation, talk to your provider.

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