What to Expect Days, Weeks, and Months After Radiofrequency Ablation

Sep 01, 2023
What to Expect Days, Weeks, and Months After Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation may be the solution for your chronic pain. Find out what kind of pain relief results you can expect in the days, weeks, and months following this minimally invasive treatment approach. 

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for chronic pain sufferers. If you’ve tried physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other evidenced-based treatment solutions but you’re still in pain, radiofrequency ablation may be the answer you’ve been looking for. 

Radiofrequency ablation uses targeted heat energy to destroy a small amount of nerve tissue in the affected area, disrupting the pain signals this tissue communicates to your brain. It’s like disconnecting a phone call — once you sever the line, the communication signals stop. 

Here at Spine & Pain Center of San Antonio in San Antonio and Live Oak, Texas, Dr. Sergio Alvarado and our skilled team specialize in helping people like you find enduring relief from chronic pain. 

Many of our patients find that radiofrequency ablation offers long-term pain relief that lasts for months or years, allowing them to delay surgery or, with the help of physical therapy, avoid it altogether. Here’s what you should know. 

What to expect during radiofrequency ablation 

During your radiofrequency ablation session, you lie down in a comfortable position, and we administer a sedative. Once you’re relaxed, we insert a tiny needle into the treatment area, using ultrasound or X-ray imaging technology to ensure accuracy. Then, we insert a tiny wire and trigger the radiofrequency ablation device to destroy the pain-causing nerve tissue. 

With this highly targeted treatment, the surrounding tissues and healthy nearby nerves remain unharmed. 

What to expect days after radiofrequency ablation 

You may feel some minor discomfort in the days immediately following. It’s common to feel some minor soreness and swelling around the treated area. Some patients have mentioned feeling numbness. This usually disappears after a few days. 

We recommend a day of rest followed by light movement to get your blood circulating. 

What to expect weeks after radiofrequency ablation 

Many people feel pain relief within a few days of their radiofrequency ablation treatment. For others, it may take a week or slightly longer to feel the difference. Right away, you may still feel a bit of soreness, but most people report less pain and more mobility that allows them to participate in more activities and have more energy. 

We’ll work with you to set your expectations for your particular healing and recovery plan. 

What to expect months after radiofrequency ablation 

Most people continue to feel better over time, both physically and mentally. When you’re not fighting pain, you want to participate in more activities and may even forget the debilitating pain was ever there. 

In most cases, we recommend physical therapy to build strength and mobility. We’ll also conduct regular follow-up evaluations to ensure you’re recovering well. Radiofrequency ablation pain relief results typically last for six to 12 months, but in some cases, pain relief continues for years.

However, the nerve regenerates in some cases and the pain returns. If that occurs, we can re-evaluate your specific needs. You may be a candidate for another treatment. 

If you’re in chronic pain, radiofrequency ablation may be able to help you find relief. At Spine & Pain Center of San Antonio, and Live Oak, Texas, we aim to help you gain the upper hand over chronic pain and get your life back. Give us a call today, or book an appointment online with our online scheduling feature any time.