Pulsed Radio-Frequency Desensitisation

The main aim of interventional pain treatments is to accurately locate the cause of the ongoing pain, confirm the diagnosis, and test the reversibility of the symptoms. It is, therefore, customary to carry out an injection with local anaesthetic with or without steroids to ‘test’ the accuracy of the diagnosis and assess how much of the pain is inflammatory by the beneficial effects of the steroid. We will use this information to plan further longer-lasting radio-frequency treatments as required.

Pulsed Radio-Frequency Desensitisation

This is a non-destructive method of treating nerve pain wither from spinal or peripheral nerves. The technique is similar to ablation, but the temperature is limited to 42 degrees, preventing nerve tissue destruction. The aim is to ‘reset’ nerves that have become hypersensitive by reducing their ability to continually generate a pain nerve signal.

These treatments are again carried out primarily under image guidance, either ultrasound or x-ray and again will take between 30-60 minutes with or without sedation. There tends to be less of a flare of pain following these procedures compared to denervation, but it sometimes occurs. Pain relief is not usually instantaneous and can take a couple of weeks to occur.

After your treatment

We suggest that someone drive you home after these procedures, with or without sedation. The pain reduction in the first 24-48 hours is an important indicator in the future success of treatments, and if you have had a non-radiofrequency treatment, you will be asked to make a note of this by email.

As far as activity is concerned, you should carry on with your usual level of activity in the first few weeks after the treatment, and you will be reviewed in the clinic in four to six weeks.