Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablations

Chronic back pain is an unwelcome reality for many patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of adults experiencing chronic pain is anywhere from 11% to 40% of American adults. Many patients struggle to find relief through procedures and medication. Lumbar radiofrequency ablation, also known as lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy, can give hope to many people with chronic pain.

What is a Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablation?

Lumbar radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to target nerve fibers. The nerve fibers are ablated, or burned, to interrupt the pain signals that are being sent to the brain. People with chronic neck, back, or joint arthritis pain may be candidates for the procedure.

After you and your doctor determine that lumbar radiofrequency ablation procedure is right for you, you will be given an appointment and instructions on preparing.

  • Two successful diagnostic medial branch block injections (at least 50% improvement of pain) must be performed prior to ablation.
  • Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor.
  • Arrange to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.
  • Do not eat or drink anything six hours before your appointment.
  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Shower using antibacterial soap the morning of your appointment.
What is a Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablation?
  • An IV line will be placed into a vein in your hand.
  • Local anesthetic and a mild sedative will be given through the IV.
  • The doctor will insert a small needle into the area where you experience pain.
  • Guided by X-ray, your doctor will position the needle in the target area.
  • The microelectrode is then inserted through the needle.
  • The stimulation process begins.
  • The doctor will ask if you feel tingling sensations to determine the target area.
  • Placement is verified.
  • Heating begins. You should not feel any pain.

Patients are typically able to walk out shortly after the procedure. You may experience pain for a few days, but it should subside as healing occurs. Pain relief from lumbar radiofrequency ablation is usually felt 3-4 weeks after the procedure, and your pain will diminish as the area heals. You should make a follow-up appointment with your doctor to address concerns and determine the procedure's efficacy.

The length of relief felt from an ablation varies. Most patients experience relief for 6-12 months, but some report relief that lasts for years. About 70% of patients who opt for a lumbar radiofrequency ablation experience relief from their pain.

Schedule an Appointment at The Pain Center

If you’ve been dealing with chronic back pain and think a lumbar radiofrequency ablation may be right for you, contact The Pain Center today for a consultation. We have offices in Boise and Caldwell, Idaho to serve you.

Pain does not need to be a part of your everyday life!


Our entire practice revolves around helping patients feel better. Pain is a fact of life, until it interferes with the joys of living. Sandra Thompson, MD and The Pain Center have innovative and comprehensive solutions to all forms of discomfort.

All insurances accepted.

Phone Number:

Boise Phone: (208) 342-9800
Boise Fax: (208) 342-4223
Caldwell Phone: (208) 342-9800
Caldwell Fax: (208) 455-5190


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Boise: 633 N. 4th St. Boise, ID 83702
Caldwell: 1825 S Kimball Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605


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Premier back pain treatments that will help reduce, relieve and improve your overall quality of life. Our goal is to provide the highest quality of service and results.



Boise Phone: (208) 342-9800

Boise Fax: (208) 342-4223

Caldwell Phone: (208) 455-3535

Caldwell Fax: (208) 455-5190

Our Locations:

  • Boise: 633 N. 4th St. Boise, ID 83702
  • Caldwell: 1825 S Kimball Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605