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Radiofrequency Ablation

Tariq Hilal, DO -  - Sports and Spine Physician

South Coast Sports and Spine Medicine

Tariq Hilal, DO

Sports and Spine Physician located in Orange and Los Angeles County, Los Alamitos, CA

Radiofrequency ablation could offer a long-term solution when conservative treatments aren't relieving your back or neck pain. Experienced sports and spine physician Tariq Hilal, DO, of South Coast Sports and Spine Medicine in Los Alamitos, California, uses cutting-edge imaging technology to perform convenient in-office radiofrequency ablation for spinal pain. To benefit from Dr. Halil's expertise, call South Coast Sports and Spine Medicine today or book an appointment online.

Radiofrequency Ablation Q & A

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a method of treating chronic neck and back pain using minimally invasive, non-surgical means. It's a non-steroidal interventional treatment for facet joint pain in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine (the neck, upper back, and lower back).

Radiofrequency ablation uses electric pulses to heat the nerves involved in pain perception and create lesions that disrupt their function. That essentially cuts off the pain signals before they can get to your brain.

Why would I need radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation could be a good option if you have chronic spinal pain that's not responding to more conservative treatments.

Most patients Dr. Hilal treats find their symptoms improve enormously using noninvasive approaches like physical therapy, lifestyle changes, manual manipulation, activity modification, and the application of heat and cold to the affected area.

You could also benefit from treatments like acupuncture, therapeutic ultrasound, electrical stimulation, prolotherapy, and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, or for more persistent pain, epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, and nerve blocks.

If none of these methods relieves your back or neck pain, radiofrequency ablation offers an alternative to surgery.

What happens when I have radiofrequency ablation?

Dr. Hilal conveniently performs radiofrequency ablation in-office. He uses a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area, then inserts a hollow needle into your back or neck.

Dr. Hilal has sophisticated image guidance technology to view the path of the needle. That ensures he targets the appropriate nerve fibers and that the needle doesn't cause unnecessary tissue damage.

When the needle is in the correct position, Dr. Hilal transmits radiofrequency energy along it to heat the nerve fibers and stop them from working. The heat causes no damage to surrounding tissues.

It only takes a few minutes to treat each nerve, so Dr. Hilal can apply radiofrequency ablation to multiple nerves during a single session. Following your radiofrequency ablation treatment, you spend a short time in recovery before returning home. You should avoid strenuous activities at first and attend a follow-up visit at South Coast Sports and Spine Medicine.

How soon do I feel the benefit of radiofrequency ablation?

You might continue to have back or neck pain for up to two weeks following radiofrequency ablation. Many patients notice a reduction in their pain straight away, but it could be 10 days or more before you experience the optimal benefit of radiofrequency ablation.

Your results could last up to two years, with most patients enjoying at least nine months of pain reduction. Eventually, the treated nerves can regenerate, and your pain could come back, but Dr. Hilal can repeat your radiofrequency ablation treatment if this occurs.

To find out whether radiofrequency ablation is a good choice for your spinal pain, call South Coast Sports and Spine Medicine or book an appointment online today.