Get Relief From Osteoarthritis in Our Pain Management Clinics
OA happens when the cartilage breaks down. This tissue protects the bones and allows them to move without friction. But when it gets damaged, bones start rubbing together, causing joint pain. This chronic condition is common among older people but can occur in adults of any age. We can help you alleviate OA symptoms in our pain management clinics.
Stiffness, swelling, weakness, and pain usually worsen after long activity periods.
Age and gender matter
The risk of developing OA increases after 50. It affects women more than men.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Although no gene has been found as the cause, there is a higher risk of developing OA if you have family members with this condition.
Being overweight adds more stress on the joints. Besides, fat cells produce proteins that can cause inflammation.
Repetitive movements, like the ones related to sports or certain jobs, increase the risk of developing OA.
Treating Osteoarthritis With Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that “burns” the nerves that send pain signals to the brain. Our doctors usually recommend this procedure when other treatments haven’t worked. However, pain therapies depend on each patient’s diagnosis. We can help you find the right treatment for you in our pain management clinics.
Important Facts About Radiofrequency Ablation
This is a same-day minimally invasive procedure using a local anesthetic.
The effects of RFA usually last for six months to a year, depending on the patient.
Types of joints
RFA can be used to treat pain in both large and small joints.
FAQ About Radiofrequency Ablation for OA
Can radiofrequency ablation help me avoid surgery?
In general, patients with OA start treating their symptoms with traditional therapies, such as medication and physical therapy. If these options don’t work, the next step is usually joint replacement surgery.
Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical alternative in these cases, especially for patients who can’t undergo surgery for medical reasons. However, it’s important to remember that RFA is a temporary solution, as nerves can regenerate over time. The effects of this procedure usually last for about a year. In some cases, even two.
Nevertheless, OA can aggravate despite treatment. If your pain keeps getting worse, you may have to consider joint replacement surgery.
Can I repeat this procedure to treat OA?
You can repeat this procedure as many times as you need. Remember you should also discuss with your doctor how many radiofrequency ablations should you have depending on your specific case.
It’s also recommended for you to continue other therapies, such as physical therapy. In our pain clinic, your doctor will design a comprehensive treatment plan for your needs.
What is cooled radiofrequency ablation and how can it help OA?
Traditional RFA is often used to treat OA in the back or the neck. Cooled radiofrequency ablation or C-RFA is typically used to treat knee osteoarthritis. The only difference is that C-RFA uses cooled needles, which allows the doctor to perform a larger lesion.
Does RFA require preparation?
Before this procedure, you should:
- Avoid eating within 6 hours before the RFA.
- Drink only water and clear liquids two hours before the procedure.
- Stop taking Aspirin and other medications that can interfere with blood clotting 2 weeks before the procedure.
What happens during the procedure?
- You will receive a local anesthetic in the area.
- Then the doctor will use an X-ray device to guide a small needle to the exact location.
- The needle will increase its temperature and send radio waves to burn the affected nerves and block pain signals.
- These needles are removed after 60 to 90 seconds.
- You will be in observation for some minutes and then you can go home. You'll need someone to drive you.
What other treatments are there for osteoarthritis?
Other treatments one of our pain doctors may recommend depending on your case are:
- Joint injections. In some cases, your doctor may recommend this alternative to reduce pain in the affected area. The effects of this procedure can last for several months.
- Regenerative medicine. Stem cells can develop into any type of cell, including bone and cartilage cells. That’s why they can regenerate the tissues affected by OA. This treatment also helps reduce inflammation, which helps reduce swelling and pain.