Whenever a part of your body is hurt, like being hit, pinched, or punctured, your nerves send signals to your brain to tell you that you’re in pain. The risk of burning nerves in the lower back is rare.

However, Radiofrequency ablation for back pain is the most recommended treatment when medication and physical therapy fail.

Why Burn Your Nerve?

There are certain pros and cons of nerve burning. The pros outweigh the cons, which is why sometimes your doctor recommends radiofrequency ablation. Excessive pain signals to your brain can be unbearable and make it hard to live a normal, healthy life.

The procedure to stop chronic pain is much more effective than using ice and heat and doesn’t have severe side effects. It deactivates the painful, pinched nerves. Nerves, made of special tissues and fibers, send pain signals to your brain when you get hurt.

While this system works, it can also result in problems like nerve damage, pinched nerves, muscle tension, or oversensitivity. These can cause significant discomfort that can worsen over time if untreated. This is the point where radiofrequency ablation becomes necessary. The procedure uses heat to stop the nerves from sending pain signals to your brain, effectively reducing or eliminating the pain.

Nerve Burning Procedure for Back Pain

Radiofrequency ablation is a short procedure and requires the following steps:

First, you will lie on your stomach on a special X-ray table. Your healthcare provider will monitor you during the procedure. You will stay awake so you can respond to questions. You can get medication to help you relax, but it’s optional. Your doctor will numb the area where the needle will go in with a local anesthetic. Then:

  • A thin needle is inserted where you feel pain.
  • The needle is guided by a continuous X-ray called fluoroscopy.
  • Once the needle is in place, your doctor will test its position using a microelectrode. You will be asked if you feel a tingling sensation, discomfort, or a muscle twitch. This confirms the right spot for treatment.
  • A local anesthetic is injected to numb the target area.
  • A radiofrequency current is sent through the needle to heat and destroy the specific part of the nerve.
  • This stops the nerve from sending pain signals to your brain.
  • More than one nerve can be treated during the procedure if needed.

Is there any Risk of Burning Nerves in the Lower Back?

The possible risks of nerve burning include bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. However, they rarely occur. There can also be pain after the procedure, either short-term or long-lasting, because of the nerve injury. Nerve burning is not a cure-all, and results can vary. Sometimes, it only offers temporary pain relief. Even if it works, the pain might come back if the underlying cause isn’t treated.

How Long Does It Take for Nerves to Die After Radiofrequency Ablation?

The affected nerves usually take 1-2 weeks to die after radiofrequency ablation. In the meantime, you can experience pain because the nerves are dying from the heat application. Applying ice packs regularly can help relieve soreness, as can taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen.

Wrapping Up

Radiofrequency ablation sounds like a powerful and dangerous procedure. However, the risk of burning nerves in the lower back is low. To reduce this risk even further, it is crucial that you choose a skilled pain management specialist.

Visit Dr. Raza Jafri at Genesis Pain Clinic for risk-free radiofrequency ablation. Our pain management specialist is board-certified in anesthesiology with a sub-specialty in pain medicine. Dial (913) 871-9888 to reach out.

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