What is Radiofrequency Ablation and How Effective is it in Relieving Headache Pain?

Headaches are common and affect almost everyone at some point in time. Though headaches vary in type, severity, and frequency, up to 4% of the world’s population suffer from chronic headaches, according to the World Health Organization

Like those who have other chronic pain conditions, people who suffer from chronic headaches may not be able to get relief from their ongoing pain with over-the-counter pain medication. 

At Headache & Pain Center in Gray and New Iberia, Louisiana, our pain medicine physicians, Dr. Jimmy Ponder Jr., and Dr. Adolfo Cuadra, are experts in the science of headaches and offer cutting-edge treatments to help you get long-term relief. This includes radiofrequency ablation.

Radiofrequency ablation explained

Pain is a nervous system signal your body uses to let you know something isn’t right. Like other pain conditions, chronic headaches may occur from irritation or compression of the pain-sensing nerves located in and around your head. 

Radiofrequency ablation, or rhizotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat energy to reduce the nervous system pain signal from your nerve to your brain. The heat energy ablates, or destroys, the nerve, eliminating or reducing the pain messages to your brain. 

Radiofrequency ablation is one of the many treatments and procedures we use to help our patients with chronic pain conditions.  

Radiofrequency ablation and headaches

Chronic headaches can be disabling. In many cases, aggressive, ongoing pain management is the best way to treat chronic headaches.

A 2018 retrospective study found that radiofrequency ablation was an effective treatment for patients suffering from chronic headaches. The authors of this study noted that 90% of the patients reported a significant improvement in their pain following the minimally invasive procedure. 

In addition to a significant reduction in pain, radiofrequency ablation also serves as a long-term solution to your chronic pain. In the 2018 study, the researchers reported that the participants experienced pain relief from the procedure for a minimum of four months, with some participants noting pain relief for up to nine months. 

Can radiofrequency ablation help me?

Whether radiofrequency ablation is the best choice for you depends on many factors. Our pain management experts conduct in-depth clinical evaluations when you come in for a consultation to help you get the best treatment for your headaches.

Radiofrequency ablation is a more invasive procedure, so we may only recommend it after you’ve tried and failed to get relief from your headaches with medications or nerve blocks. 

We may also recommend radiofrequency ablation if you’re looking for a long-term solution to your pain. When it comes to disabling headaches, radiofrequency ablation is an effective, long-term solution. 

To learn more about our treatment options for headaches, contact us by calling one of our offices or by clicking the online booking button.