Radiofrequency Rhizotomy (Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy)

The Center for Pain Management uses radiofrequency rhizotomy (lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy) as a pain management treatment option to relieve chronic back pain.

How Radiofrequency Rhizotomy (Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy) Works

Nerves do not just send pain signals, like a telephone signal over a wire. Rather, they process signals like a computer chip. This happens in the nerve endings in the skin, ligaments, joints and internal organs, as well as inside the spinal cord and the brain.

During the 1950s and ‘60s, research was done on using electromagnetic energy in the treatment of medical conditions. This led to things like nerve stimulation for pain and cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators for heart disease. Other forms of electrically generated energy include lasers and electrocautery for surgery.

Researchers in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands (Holland), Australia and the United States began working on radiofrequency energy to treat pain and other conditions in the 1970’s. It was discovered that nerves could be ablated (cooked at a low temperature) without the side effects or dangers of surgical cutting. This could be done for some types of pain, but not all.

Since then, multiple studies have shown that properly performed Radiofrequency Ablation (RF or RFA) is highly effective in treating certain types of pain. It also is used now by cardiologists to treat some heart problems and is being used in some types of orthopedic surgery.

The best application for RF is to treat spinal pain: pain arising from or near the spine caused by arthritis or trauma to the spine. In the upper neck (cervical spine) this type of pain is felt as neck stiffness, headache in the back of the head, around the ear or temples and radiating to the forehead, jaw or behind the eyes—it can trigger migraine-type headaches. In the middle and lower neck it can be felt as neck pain, shoulder pain, heaviness or aching in the arms or around the shoulder blades and upper back. In the middle and lower back, pain can run along the spine, but often radiates along the rib cage, into the hip or groin, or down into the thighs. Very often, this pain is worse with twisting or turning, looking up or reaching up, standing for a long time or bending and straightening.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a simple outpatient procedure is performed under sedation, treating two or three segments of the spine at a time. Results are often seen immediately although usually this take a few weeks.

Contact us to learn more about Radiofrequency Rhizotomy (Lumbar Radiofrequency Neurotomy)

Updates + Announcements

Dr. Edward Kowlowitz Named One of America’s Top Doctors in Pain Medicine

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. named Edward Kowlowitz, MD one of America’s Top Doctors in Pain Medicine. Dr. Kowlowitz is 1 of 7 physicians in Indiana to earn this distinguished designation. He has been practicing medicine since 1988 and founded Center…
Read More →

September is Pain Awareness Month

Center for Pain Management joins the global health care community in recognizing September as Pain Awareness Month.  This international campaign was first established in 2001 to create greater understanding that pain is a serious public health issue. Pain Awareness Month…
Read More →

CBS Affiliate WLFI-18 in Lafayette Indiana Interviews Dr. Edward Kowlowitz About Prescribing Pain Medications

Reporter Kayla Sullivan with WLFI-18 TV (CBS affiliate), interviewed Lafayette pain management doctor, Dr. Edward Kowlowitz, MD at the Center for Pain Management. The news channel has been investigating why major pharmacies are denying prescriptions for pain medications. Dr. Kowlowitz…
Read More →

Meet Dr. David Miller, MD in Our Lafayette, Indiana Pain Center

Dr. David C. Miller is a Board Certified interventional pain management physician with more than 25 years of experience. He specializes in the evaluation and treatment of complex pain problems utilizing advanced interventional therapies, injections, implantable technologies, regenerative medicine, palliative…
Read More →

Meet Dr. Scott Kim, MD in Our Greenwood Pain Center

Dr. Scott Kim, MD is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. He has notable expertise in a wide range of interventional medical procedures for treating acute and chronic pain conditions. Learn More About Dr. Scott Kim, MD at the…
Read More →

Ready for Relief?
Fill out this form & we'll contact you to schedule an appointment.