Living with injuries can affect your daily life, recreation, and ability to work. If you’re living with pain due to an injury at your Georgia Workplace, you may need an important medical procedure such as radiofrequency ablation. To know if a radiofrequency ablation is the right treatment for you, it’s important to understand what this procedure entails, how it can help treat your back pain, and what role this procedure plays in your overall recovery.
Whether your injury happened during an on-the-job accident at work slowly over time, it’s important that your Georgia employer and their insurance provider offer you the benefits you deserve for your injury recovery. Making a clear connection between your work history and your injury is especially important for getting your care covered.
Although dealing with your employer and their insurance company can be difficult, one of our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers at Gearhart Law Group can assist you in overcoming these challenges and getting your care covered.
What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation (RfA) is a medical procedure that uses radio waves to create heat and destroy nerve fibers that are transmitting dysfunctional pain signals, usually in the spine (either low back or neck). This procedure is used to treat chronic pain from conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc injuries, and degenerative joint disease. Radiofrequency ablation is performed by inserting a needle through the skin into an area of nerve tissue near the affected area of the spine where the nerve fibers come together and can be ablated. The aim of this treatment is to reduce how much your body feels pain in the area the procedure is done on.
Radiofrequency ablation is often done after successful medial branch blocks. Medial branch blocks are a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat back pain that involves injecting a local anesthetic into a targeted nerve in your back. These injections temporarily block the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals, allowing you to determine whether or not those nerves are causing your pain. If the block was successful in reducing or eliminating your pain, then radiofrequency ablation may be the next step to help provide more long-term relief.
Radiofrequency ablation works by eliminating the signal between problematic nerve endings and your brain, with potential to drastically reduce pain levels and improve mobility. The effects of radiofrequency ablation can last from months to years, and in some cases longer. This treatment may need to be repeated as nerve endings grow back and symptoms return.
What is Radiofrequency Ablation Used For?
Radiofrequency ablation is typically used to treat chronic back pain from conditions such as spinal stenosis, disc injuries, and degenerative joint disease. However, it can also be used for other medical issues such as nerve entrapment and persistent muscle spasms. An ablation procedure procedure is very quick and usually takes less than an hour, though the exact time depends on the condition being treated and the number of areas that need ablation. After radiofrequency ablation you may experience some temporary tenderness at the injection site, but this typically resolves within a few days.
The typical outcome after a successful radiofrequency ablation procedure is a significant reduction in pain levels and an increase in overall mobility. Many people experience decreased stiffness in joints or muscle, along with improved tolerance for work and other activities. Although many patients will feel relief within a few days following ablation, additional procedures may be required to fully address the problem being treated.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation Safe?
Radiofrequency ablation is generally considered safe when administered by a trained professional. However, all surgical procedures carry some level of risks and complications, and surgical complications such as infection or wound healing issues are possible. Minor side effects are more common, such as temporary numbness or tingling after the procedure as the nervous system adapts to new changes. It’s important that you talk to your doctor before undergoing a radiofrequency ablation so they can make sure it’s the right choice for you given your medical history and lifestyle.
To ensure optimal safety during a radiofrequency ablation procedure, your doctor will take several precautions such as monitoring vital signs (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure), use of local anesthetic, and other methods as needed to prevent medical complications. To make sure you’re getting the most from your treatment, it’s essential to follow-up with your physician after the procedure and discuss any lifestyle changes that might help manage pain levels going forward.
Will I Need Other Treatments?
After a radiofrequency ablation procedure, you may benefit from other treatments to manage your condition. Depending on the severity of your discomfort and mobility issues, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or medications to help manage pain and increase flexibility. Physical therapy can provide targeted exercises specific to your needs that will strengthen muscles and improve range of motion, while medications can reduce inflammation and ease discomfort.
You might also be asked to make lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or reducing alcohol consumption in order to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment, and your recovery from the procedure. Your doctor may also suggest weight loss if you are overweight in order to prevent complicating any existing joint problems in your spine. Additionally, other conservative treatments such as massage, relaxation techniques like yoga or mindfulness, and psychology approaches including cognitive behavioral therapy may be explored to optimize your recovery.
Alternative treatments to radiofrequency ablation may include a structured course of medial branch blocks, spinal cord stimulation,intrathecal drug delivery systems (IDDS). Another common treatment for persistent back pain is Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – a drug-free method used to provide temporary pain relief by delivering electrical signals from outside the body.
Getting important procedures like radiofrequency ablation covered by your Georgia employer can be a complicated and difficult process. To get the compensation you need for important procedures and injury treatment throughout your recovery, you need a legal team that understands your specific needs and can help make the recovery process easier.
Contact a Georgia Injury Lawyer
If you’ve been injured on the job in Georgia and are looking for legal assistance, get in touch with Gearhart Law Group today. We understand the struggles of workers’ compensation claims and we know how to fight any objections your employer or their insurance may have so you can receive all of the Georgia workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Call us now so we can evaluate your individual case and advise you of your next legal steps as well as ensuring you are receiving the best medical care for your injuries.