Obtaining a positive response to the medial branch block tells your doctor that your pain is caused by the facet joints. the next step is radiofrequency ablation (RFA). This step is meant to provide pain relief for a longer period of time.
An electrical current is introduced to the nerves of the damaged facet joints. The current is used to heat up a small area of the nerve and disrupt the pain signals that the nerve is sending to the brain. You can think of this as temporarily shutting off/decreasing the nerve signals that are causing your pain.
Pain relief will vary from patient to patient. Typically, patients experience good relief for up to 6 months, followed by a slow increase in pain levels over the next 2-3 months. If your pain starts to return after 6 months, the RFA can be repeated for continued pain relief.
With this procedure, we ask for your patience in experiencing pain relief. It may take up to 3 to 6 weeks to start noticing pain relief.