Can Ablation Techniques Manage Chronic Pain?

Can Ablation Techniques Manage Chronic Pain?


By Dr. Ruchi Gupta, Pain Management

Many people living with chronic pain find it hard to seek relief from the same. Interventional Pain Management helps patients cope with chronic pain. Unlike other treatment procedures, Interventional Pain Management addresses the origin of the pain directly by using techniques like radiofrequency rhizotomy or injections.

Some common conditions that Interventional Pain Management treats are-

  1. Chronic headache
  2. Face/mouth pain
  3. Lower back pain
  4. Neck pain
  5. Muscle/bone ache

Interventional Pain Management methods sometimes play a role in multi-disciplinary approach to ease pain and other symptoms. They are used in concurrence with emotional and mental therapy, and prescribed medications.

4 Ways/Techniques to Treat Chronic Pain with Interventional Pain Management-

  1. Injections- Injections or nerve blocks direct strong, powerful medications- opioids and steroids- near or onto the nerves to offer temporary relief from pain. For instance, an epidural steroid injection (for lower back pain) is injected into the lumbar spine, which directly sends steroids to the inflamed nerve root. Some other frequently used injections are- single nerve root blocks, facet joint injections etc.
  2. Radiofrequency Rhizotomy- This particular technique uses x-ray guidance and a needle to manage chronic pain. The needle has an electrode right at the tip, which gets heated. Radiofrequency rhizotomy, also known as Radiofrequency Ablation, intervenes with your nerve’s ability to direct pain signals to the brain.
  3. Intrathecal Pump Implants- Intrathecal Pump Implants (Pain pumps) send powerful medications straight to the origin of your pain. A small device known as a pump is implanted underneath the skin, and the doctor programs it to deliver certain medications. Pain pumps are usually recommended for lower back or neck pain that results from a failed surgery.
  4. Electrical Stimulation- The doctor implants a stimulator that directly sends electrical pulses to the pain-inflicting area, for instance the brain, nerves or the spinal cord.
  5. Other Techniques of Interventional Pain Management-
    • Intradiscal electrothermic therapy
    • Cryogenic cooling

Depending on the source and severity of the pain, the patient may be prescribed one of these techniques, or a combination of multiple techniques.

Chronic pain often interferes with routine activities, and can be very distressing. Interventional Pain Management follows new-age technology to address chronic pain, and improve one’s quality of life.