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man with neck pain

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, which decreases pain signals sent from that specific area. Radiofrequency ablation in St. Augustine, FL, can be used to help many patients with chronic neck and lower back pain and also pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis. The degree and length of pain relief can vary, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from RFA can last anywhere from 6 to 12 months, but in some cases, relief can last for years. Over 70% of patients treated with RFA experience significant pain relief.

Is Radiofrequency Ablation Safe?

Radiofrequency ablation has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment for many forms of pain. It is also generally well-tolerated, with very few associated complications. There is a low risk of infection and bleeding at the insertion site, but a doctor can advise you about your individual risk level.

What Should We Know About Radiofrequency Ablation?

The primary side effect of RFA is discomfort, including swelling and bruising at the site of the treatment, but this typically goes away after a few days. Also, as with any medical procedure, RFA may not be appropriate for everyone. For instance, radiofrequency ablation is not recommended for anyone who has active infections or bleeding problems. Consult your doctor, who can tell you if you should not undergo RFA.

senior man thinking

Diseases that Seem Like Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can be complicated. Many people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will tell you that it took some time before they were given a definitive diagnosis. Even if doctors suspect rheumatoid arthritis early on, there is no single test or piece of evidence that confirms the diagnosis. A blend of findings from a patient’s medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies must all be considered, so a diagnosis and the selection of arthritis treatment in Jacksonville, FL, can be tricky. There are also several medical conditions with similar symptoms. Here are some conditions that can mimic rheumatoid arthritis.

Post-Viral Arthritis – Chronic and acute and viral infections can sometimes result in a polyarthritis that looks just like rheumatoid arthritis clinically.

Lupus – Systemic lupus erythematosus can be associated with joint difficulties that mimic rheumatoid arthritis, but lupus differs by rarely being an erosive disease.

Scleroderma – A comprehensive chemistry panel, a complete blood count, and serologic studies (antinuclear, anticentromere, and antitopoisomerase antibodies) are usually ordered when a patient is suspected of having scleroderma.

Osteoarthritis – The absence of symptoms and signs of systemic inflammation, onset in older adulthood, and a pattern of asymmetric joint involvement, are often enough to distinguish osteoarthritis from rheumatoid arthritis.

Gout – Acute gout usually is associated with asymmetric inflammation and arthritis, but gout attacks can become more frequent, last longer, and may not resolve, leading to chronic gouty arthropathy. It can be distinguished from rheumatoid arthritis by the absence of joint space narrowing and the absence of periarticular osteopenia.

x-ray graphic depicting migraine

Myths about Migraines

People who suffer from migraines are well aware that they are beyond just a mere headache. A migraine is typically accompanied by throbbing or pulsing pain and may include nausea and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and noise. The disabling nature of the pain could cause the sufferer to be confined to a darkened room for hours or even days.

Those are some of the basic facts about migraines, but there are also many myths out there that you should be aware of when you seek out migraine treatment. We at First Coast Pain would like to dispel some of those myths for our patients in the Jacksonville, FL, area and beyond.

Common Migraine Myths

All Headaches Can Be Described As Migraines – There are a number of different types of headaches, and migraines are distinct due to their severity, duration, and accompanying symptoms.

Sufferers Are to Blame for Their Migraines – While factors such as anxiety, depression, and stress may trigger a migraine, the main culprit when it comes to migraine attacks is genetics.

Caffeine Causes Migraines – Caffeine can actually be utilized as a form of migraine treatment when it is used on an as-needed basis (caffeine overuse is indeed known to cause headaches).

senior man in a hospital bed after surgery

Who Needs Kyphoplasty?

Anyone who has suffered compression fractures in their vertebrae should look into kyphoplasty, which is a special type of spine surgery performed by First Coast Pain in St. Augustine, FL. The procedure involves inserting a surgical balloon into a tube to inflate the collapsed area and then filling that area with bone cement, which keeps the vertebra in place. But what causes these compression fractures in the first place? And are you a possible candidate for kyphoplasty?

A spinal compression fracture results from the occurrence of small hairline fractures in your spine, which can cause the vertebra to collapse. This break in your vertebrae causes bone fragments to rub against each other, which can be extremely painful. These fractures typically occur in the middle of the back (thoracic region of the spine), but it’s possible that they could also occur in the lower back (lumbar region).

The individuals who are at the greatest risk of suffering from compression fractures are older adults with osteoporosis, as well as people with cancer that has spread to their bones. If you think you might be a candidate for kyphoplasty, reach out to First Coast Pain today. We will be happy to discuss treatment options with you.

senior man with a doctor

Recovery Tips After Radiofrequency Ablation

A popular procedure for patients seeking neck and back pain treatment in Jacksonville, FL, is radiofrequency ablation (RFA). While this procedure is quick and minimally invasive, there are some after-effects associated with this form of treatment. For example, the area that was treated may become sensitive immediately after an RFA, and you could experience a slight burning pain or numbness in that area as well. Below, we’ll discuss some tips for recovery following RFA treatment.

In order to reduce swelling and numb the pain in the area of the injection, it is advisable to use an ice pack. You should ice down the affected area for no more than 20 minutes at a time. You’ll also want to wait at least two hours before icing it again; otherwise, you may injure your skin. Please note that you typically should not use a heat pack in the area of the injection following RFA.

Another tip is to avoid baths for two days after an RFA procedure and take warm showers instead. Also, you’ll want to rest for a few days before you return to your normal daily routine. It’s okay to do some of your regular activities, but be sure to take it easy if you start to experience any pain.

For further advice on recovery from this neck and back pain treatment, reach out to First Coast Pain. We’re happy to provide recovery tips that help you get back to normal as soon as possible.

doctor talking to patient

FAQ about Pain Management

When you are seeking recovery from an accident or are going through a treatment program for a chronic condition, you may be familiar with a field known as pain management. In Jacksonville, FL, many health care providers are recommending patients to consider a multidisciplinary approach to overcoming the symptoms of pain and its effects. Here are a few common questions about this field, answered.

What is Pain Management?

It is a multidisciplinary field which empowers patients to identify and navigate the complications associated with chronic pain, and also the side effects of a traumatic accident or injury. This area of medicine doesn’t simply pursue a cure to pain, as this is a condition that affects everyone differently. It also teaches patients how to utilize tools and coping strategies to improve their quality of life.

What Treatments Are Associated with Pain Management?

Since everyone interfaces with pain differently, treatment will also vary amongst individuals. For instance, your physician might recommend surgery to treat a spinal injury while a physical therapist will help you find an avenue of recovery through exercise and lifestyle changes. Other patients might pursue treatment through prescribed medications, counseling, or a combination of procedures from varying disciplines.

If your health care provider recommends a pain management program, then they may encourage you to get in contact with medical specialists. Contact a pain clinic near you to learn if they offer a pain management program.

nerve cells

Signs You May Have Neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition in which the nerves outside your brain or spinal cord have been damaged. The effects of neuropathy include pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet. Many things can cause this condition, such as traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, and even as a side effect of chronic illnesses like diabetes.

Before considering neuropathy treatment in St. Augustine, FL, it is important to get a proper diagnosis. Your primary health care provider can screen you for this condition. You may want to request an evaluation from your physician if you are encountering any of the following symptoms:

  • Sharp, Jabbing, Throbbing, or Shooting Pain
  • Gradual Sensations of Numbness or Prickling in Your Fingers, Hands, Toes, and Feet
  • Sensitivity to Touch
  • Feelings of Pain When There Shouldn’t Be
  • Muscle Weakness

Neuropathy can affect three types of nerves. The first is the sensory nerves, which interpret temperature, pain, and vibration. The second type is the motor nerves, which control movement. Finally, there are the autonomic nerves, which control blood pressure, heart rate, and bladder control. Symptoms of autonomic neuropathy include:

  • Heat Intolerance
  • Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness

Neuropathy treatment can help you keep these symptoms under control. To get the right treatment, it is important to work with your physician and any medical professionals they might refer you to. Seek medical help as quickly as possible if you suspect you are suffering from neuropathy.

 

medical marijuana

How Medical Marijuana Can Treat Back Pain

Back pain can cause so much discomfort that it can feel impossible to go about your day. Thanks to changes in Florida’s drug laws, patients can consider medical marijuana in St. Augustine, FL, and elsewhere throughout the state. Here is how cannabis can help patients overcome pain and live life as normal.

To understand the potential of medical cannabis, it’s important to understand its chemical composition and its effects. Many strains of cannabis contain THC, which is a chemical compound that affects the nervous system. When ingested, THC helps the brain to produce serotonin, which instills feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Another compound found in cannabis is CBD. This does not have any psychoactive effects, yet it has been shown to alleviate pain and discomfort. It can also reduce feelings of anxiety, helping patients to feel calm without the so-called adverse side effects of THC.

Medical cannabis can help patients feel at ease while suppressing the nervous system’s ability to process pain. This drug can be ingested in various forms, including traditional pills. With proper supervision from a licensed medical professional, patients can find relief from back pain. Compare these treatments to substances like oxycodone, which poses the risk of addiction and dependency.

Medical marijuana isn’t for everyone. As with all drugs, taking this substance does have risks. More research is needed to verify marijuana’s viability as a medical drug. If you are thinking about this avenue of treatment, please get in touch with your physician to discuss your options.

nerve pain in the foot

About Neuropathy

Neuropathy is the result of nerve damage outside of the brain and spinal cord, and it typically occurs in the hands and feet. This damage can cause people to experience weakness, numbness, and pain of varying degrees. However, with neuropathy treatment in St. Augustine, FL, the symptoms can be managed effectively.

The pain associated with neuropathy can range from sudden and stabbing to burning and tingling that is felt throughout the day. In addition to the damaged nerves sending false pain signals to the brain, they can also cause people to lack the sensation of pain when they have an actual injury. Neuropathy can also be triggered by activities such as walking or even just standing in line.

People with this condition may notice that their bodies are very sensitive as well. Something as minor as having a blanket resting on their body could cause pain. This can have a significant negative effect on their quality of sleep.

On the other end of the spectrum, people with neuropathy may experience a loss of feeling — particularly in their fingertips. This can make everyday activities such as typing extremely difficult. If you find that you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog post, you should seek neuropathy treatment in St. Augustine, FL, from a trusted pain management clinic, such as First Coast Pain.

doctor showing patient a model of the spine

Answering Your Questions about Spinal Ablation

For patients with spondylosis (arthritis of the spine), as well as those experiencing chronic pain in the neck and lower back, spinal ablation in St. Augustine, FL, can be an excellent form of treatment. This procedure uses radiofrequency waves to destroy nerve fibers that send pain signals to the brain. It is a quick, minimally invasive procedure that can offer lasting relief.

Radiofrequency ablation is also called rhizotomy, and it is a procedure that reduces or stops the transmission of pain using heat. The radiofrequency waves actually burn the nerve that is transmitting the pain signals to the brain. Here are some of the significant benefits of radiofrequency ablation:

  • Nonsurgical
  • Immediate Pain Relief
  • Little to No Recovery Time
  • Decreased Need for Pain Medication
  • Improved Function
  • Quicker Return to Daily Activities

Are You a Candidate?

If you previously had a diagnostic nerve or pain receptor block injection and experienced pain relief, spinal ablation in St. Augustine, FL, is a treatment option for you. Please keep in mind that radiofrequency ablation shouldn’t be performed on people who are pregnant, have an infection, or have bleeding problems, as it is done using fluoroscopic guidance. If you have any further questions about your eligibility for this procedure, please contact First Coast Pain today.