Treating Spine Pain With Facet Joint Ablation

Woman holding the back of his husband‚Äč

Pain in your spine can limit the range of motion in your back and affect other areas of your body as well. Spinal conditions that affect the nerves can spread pain into other limbs and cause symptoms like numbness, tingling, and weakness. One area of the spine where this kind of pain occurs in many people is the facet joints.

The facet joints are joints in your spine that allow it to bend and twist. The connecting points of these joints are covered in a lubricating fluid and a layer of cartilage that helps them function smoothly. Damage to the cartilage or the production of the lubricating fluid can cause friction and pain in the facet joints. One effective method for treating this pain is facet joint ablation.

What is facet joint ablation?

Facet joint ablation is a method for reducing pain in the facet joints. The goal of facet joint ablation is to prevent the pain signals that are sent from the nerve roots in the facet joint from reaching your brain. This is done by using radio waves to heat the nerve roots.

The heat from the radio waves severs the nerve roots. This prevents the roots from being able to send pain signals to the brain. As a result, you have less pain in your back and an improvement in your range of motion.

Facet joint ablation is a minimally invasive procedure. The radio waves are delivered through an electrode attached to the end of a needle, which is guided to the damaged nerve roots using X-ray imaging. Severing the nerve roots this way reduces many risks involved with more invasive procedures, including infection, loss of blood, and pain.

Who needs facet joint ablation?

The primary cause of damage to the facet joints is arthritis. This is a condition that causes the cartilage in your body to wear down. It can affect the cartilage in your facet joints, which eventually leads to pain and affects your range of motion.

Other conditions that cause facet joint pain may include traumatic injuries and overexertion of the spine.

Health care providers will typically attempt to treat facet joint pain with physical therapy, medication, and other conservative techniques. However, if these techniques fail to provide pain relief, your health care provider may recommend facet joint ablation.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for facet joint ablation

Our surgeons at the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute are highly skilled and experienced in performing facet joint ablations. Our team can examine the condition of your spine and determine if a facet joint ablation is right for you. Contact our team today to learn more about facet joint ablation or to schedule an initial appointment.