Radio-Frequency Treatments

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.

Radio-Frequency Treatments

This is a method of using medium or higher alternating current frequencies to affect nerve function and, therefore, be used to detect, diagnose and treat nerve pain. In order to create a ‘circuit’, an electrode pad is placed on the patient in a neutral position. An electrode needle is then used to detect the nerve to be treated, and this can be stimulated by a small voltage to elicit a localised tingling sensation which the patient feels and can be used to positively identify the nerve responsible for the pain symptoms.

Once located, the nerve can be treated with continuous radio frequency, which heats up and ‘cuts’ the nerve or pulsed radio frequency, which is non-destructive and leads to nerve desensitisation.

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.