More than 20% of American adults experience some form of chronic pain, while almost 10% suffer from high-impact chronic pain that seriously affects their quality of life. Chronic pain is often treated with pain medication. Unfortunately, many pain medications can create dependence. Furthermore, they can create resistance, requiring higher and higher doses to be effective.
Against that background, patients and doctors alike are giving priority to pain-management techniques that avoid or limit the use of medications. One of these techniques is radiofrequency ablation, which changes the way nerves transmit pain signals to the brain. Coolief®, which is a refinement of this technique, can effectively reduce or eliminate the need for drugs.
At Spine & Joint Physicians of Frisco in Frisco and Lewisville, Texas, S. Justin Badiyan, MD, expertly performs Coolief procedures. In this blog, Dr. Badiyan explains how radiofrequency ablation works and how it may be able to help you.
The power of radiofrequency ablation
At the point where pain originates, nerve tissue creates electrical signals that are sent to the brain and interpreted as pain. If your pain is chronic, it may be due to a condition that irritates a nerve or, in some cases, the nerve may send pain signals without a physical reason.
Radiofrequency ablation works by interrupting the pain signals. Probes are inserted close to the nerve that’s creating the pain signals. Then, when a current is sent through the probes, the nerve tissue absorbs the energy and warms up, thus disrupting the pain signals generated by the nerve.
The advantage of Coolief
The Coolief radiofrequency system works in the way described above as well, but with a modification that improves the effectiveness of the treatment.
A primary limitation of radiofrequency ablation is the strength of the probes’ output. If the energy is too strong, then tissue other than the targeted nerve may be affected. However, the opposite is also true. Too little energy means the targeted nerve may not be sufficiently affected to produce significant pain relief.
Coolief introduces water cooling to the radiofrequency ablation process. Tempered by water cooling, the energy can be powerful enough to deactivate the nerve and not harm surrounding tissue.
Coolief is a minimally invasive procedure, and the results of a treatment can last for up to a year. Coolief is also the only radiofrequency ablation system cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use on chronic knee pain.
To find out if you’re a candidate for Coolief treatments, book an appointment over the phone with Spine & Joint Physicians of Frisco today.