Radiofrequency treatment of spine pain

Radiofrequency for lumbar and cervical pain

Around 70-80% of the adult population experiences pain in the spine (cervical or lumbar) at some point in their lives, and although the vast majority of cases are resolved, up to 8-12% become chronic, altering the quality of life of these patients.

Pain treatment should be directed at its cause, when there is a clear correlation between a specific lesion and the patient’s symptoms; for example, a fracture of a lumbar vertebra and intense and disabling low back pain, which will require surgery or an orthopedic corset.

However, there are cases in which this relationship cannot be established, and that is where therapy has to be symptomatic and conservative and minimally invasive procedures that try to solve the pain problem.

What is lumbar rhizolysis?

Among these techniques that are aimed at treating spinal pain (pain sacroiliac joint, facet joints, neck or lumbar), we are going to comment on rhizolysis, an incorrect term, since a root is not injured, which in Greek is Rizho and Lisys, which is to injure, but which nevertheless endures in the medical literature and colloquial. It would be more correct to speak of lumbar radiofrequency treatment.

At Hospital Ochoa, a hospital in Marbella, we are specialist traumatologists. We have a team specialized in spinal trauma in Marbella.

Duration of the process 20 - 30 min
Anesthesia local
Hospital stay No
Recovery time 1 week
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Dr. Virgilio de Lemos
  • Graduate in medicine and surgery. University of
  • Specialist in Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery. University of
  • Intern at the Traumatology and Orthopaedic Surgery Department of the
  • Volunteer assistant doctor. Carlos Haya Hospital.
  • Assistant doctor in the Traumatology Department. Medical and surgical on-call duty.
  • Substitution of traumatology assistant doctor at Antequera outpatient clinic. Málaga
  • Substitution Dr. Honorio Leal Escobar, as Head of Traumatology. Outpatient clinic in the city of Malaga.
  • Traumatology assistant doctor
  • Assistant Traumatology Physician, Malaga Institute of Traumatology and Sports Medicine
  • Assistance for accidents at work. Mutuas Mutral and Unión Museba Ibesvico (formerly Laborum and Labmar).
  • Services at Mutua MAZ
  • Traumatology specialist Malaga Institute of Traumatology and Sports Medicine

Our installations

Our modern facilities with integrated operating rooms and hospitalization floor make it possible for us to carry out minimally invasive surgical techniques with which the patient obtains a rapid and satisfactory recovery, thus meeting the expectations of the most demanding. We have several accesses; from Severo Ochoa avenue and from the Marbella promenade.

Step by step surgery


This technique is performed as a day clinic, with the patient remaining two to three hours in the hospital, to later go home. Under the control of an X-ray machine, in the operating room, and without the need for anesthesia, small electrodes are inserted into the area to be treated, to injure the posterior branch in the posterior joints of the vertebrae.
For greater safety and comfort of the patient, this remains monitored by an anesthetist, to relax him if necessary due to nervousness or another cause, generally always trivial.
These electrodes are connected to the radiofrequency device, which is what emits an electrical current that reaches the tissue to be treated.
Once the process is finished, which lasts no more than half an hour, the patient goes to the observation room of the day clinic, where he stays from thirty minutes to two hours, depending on whether the patient has had to be sedated or not. Once you are discharged from the hospital and given the indications, you go to your home.

Treatment for spinal pain

In studies endorsed by the Spanish Pain Society, it can be ensured that Radiofrequency is a safe and effective technique in the treatment of chronic pain in the spine, with a low incidence of complications, provided that it is performed, after a good selection of patients. to treat, and by qualified professionals.

The statistics regarding the efficacy of lumbar radiofrequency treatment speak of 60 to 70% of good results, in terms of improvement of spinal pain, and a decrease in the painkiller medication to be taken.

These results are maintained between one and a half and two years, after performing the cervical or lumbar rhizolysis, at which time the pain reappears, if the patient does not follow the medical advice, to preserve his spine, or if the underlying pathology that the patient has is very serious; In other words, if we perform a Rhizolysis on an elderly woman with severe osteoarthritis of the cervical spine, for example, who cannot be operated on due to poor general condition, the result is short in time, and we only get an improvement in pain, for months or a year , which on the other hand is the only thing that we can often get-

If, on the contrary, we treat with lumbar Radiofrequency an individual who suffers a whiplash, after a traffic accident, who has been suffering from neck pain for weeks or months, resistant to medical treatment, the benefit can be definitive.

Therefore, Rhizolysis is an effective therapeutic weapon for the treatment of spinal pain, which many times would be indicated in those patients, “who are not ready for surgery”, but for whom medical and physiotherapeutic treatment, exclusively, does not provides you with a correct quality of life.

How does rhizolysis work?

Rhizolysis is a medical procedure used to treat chronic pain in the spine, particularly in the area of ​​the nerve roots that exit the spine and spread to other parts of the body.

It involves the application of a high-frequency electrical current and heat to the affected area of ​​the spine, in order to destroy the nerves responsible for chronic pain. This electrical current is applied through a very thin needle that is inserted into the spinal column in the area of ​​the affected nerve roots.

Rhizolysis is performed under local anesthesia.

When is a lumbar rhizolysis done?

Rhizolysis is typically performed on people who experience chronic back pain due to problems with the facet joints of the spine. These joints are located at the back of the spine and help provide stability and mobility to the spine.

What side effects and symptoms does rhizolysis have?

There are possible side effects from the Rizolysis treatment such as: pain or discomfort, irritation of a nearby nerve, tingling, small bleeding…

Is lumbar radiofrequency painful?

It is possible that pain appears after a rhizolysis but during, in general, the procedure is not usually painful since local anesthesia is applied to the area.

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