Can Radiofrequency Ablation Help With Arthritis Pain?

Can Radiofrequency Ablation Help With Arthritis Pain?

Arthritis is a painful condition that affects the bones and joints. It is degenerative and gets worse as the wear and tear on the joints become more intense. Arthritis can cause pain and decrease range of motion.

There are many potential therapies for the treatment of arthritis available. In serious cases, San Diego internal medicine doctors might recommend the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) (also known as radiofrequency rhizotomy). This is a unique treatment that targets the source of pain itself.

Treatments with RFA can provide quick relief that lasts for a number of months, if not years. This article explores the use of RFA for arthritis pain.

How Could Radiofrequency Ablation Help With Arthritis?

Arthritis is typically a tricky condition to treat, most notably because it involves the degradation of cartilage in the spaces between our joints. Cartilage is difficult to replace and once it’s gone it can be extremely costly and risky to attempt to replace it.

Treatments like radiofrequency ablation provide an alternative for arthritis patients by targeting pain in a different way. The RFA procedure involves San Diego internal medicine doctors using an electrical current produced by a radio wave. This electrical current targets a specific nerve group and burns off the nerves, thereby reducing pain signaling.

San Diego internal medicine doctors

After receiving RFA, patients often report an immediate improvement in their pain. The relief from this treatment often lasts as long as six months. Many patients report that it lasts longer, up to a year, and there have been some cases of people enjoying relief for more than a year. Relief is experienced by 70% of patients treated with RFA.

The RFA Procedure

Firstly you’ll need to speak with your San Diego internal medicine doctors to evaluate your condition. They will help you decide whether or not RFA is the best option for you. Once you’ve decided upon the treatment, you can expect it to go as follows.

The doctor will insert an IV to provide you with a local anesthetic and possibly a sedative to help promote relaxation and reduce any nervousness. You may remain awake throughout the procedure. This can help improve the doctor’s accuracy and assessment.

The doctor will insert a needle filled with a microelectrode into the affected area. The electrode will be stimulated and you may be asked if you feel a tingling sensation to help verify the placement. Once the electrode is in the proper place a current will be pumped through it and your nerves will be heated up.

Is RFA Safe?

Radiofrequency ablation is proven to safe and effective for treating a variety of different painful conditions including arthritis. The treatment is usually well-tolerated and there are not many complications or risks associated with it.

There are few side effects that patients may experience although they are generally mild. These include some mild discomfort, swelling, or bruising at the site of the injection.


Arthritis is a painful condition that can impede an individual’s range of motion. Radiofrequency ablation can help reduce pain by burning away the nerves responsible for pain transmission. RFA is considered a safe treatment with few side effects. Talk with San Diego internal medicine doctors to learn more about this treatment.

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