Medial Branch Radiofrequency Ablation

If you’re experiencing chronic low back pain and/or neck pain, and haven’t been able to find long-term relief with other treatment methods, Medial Branch Radiofrequency Ablation could be the solution you need. The team at Texas Pain Care in the Missouri, Sugar Land, and Houston areas can expertly treat and manage pain, with a goal to help their family of patients get back their quality of life.


Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that reduces the ability of the nerves to transmit pain. When ablation is used around the cervical spine (the neck region of your spinal column), this treatment is effective at reducing back and neck pain. The best part is that, in addition to having a great success rate, ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that can help patients who are suffering with chronic pain avoid surgeries and extended recovery periods.

If you look at the anatomy of the spine, there are great opportunities for pain due to the link between each individual part. The spine, while rigid, is made flexible by each individual vertebrae (bones of the spine) that also help to protect the spinal cord. In between each vertebrae are facet joints that help cushion and provide support to the vertebrae. These facets are where medial branch nerves are found, which are small nerve branches that provide sensation (pain or otherwise) to the joint and communicate this sensation to the brain. This intricate and complex structure of the spine, vertebrae, joints and nerves means that any damage or breakdown caused by wear and tear can potentially affect the nerves. The goal with radiofrequency ablation is to locate the affected nerve and prevent it from sending pain signals to the brain. 

The way it works is that a small radiofrequency current is directed to the medial branch nerve of the joint capsule for about a minute. The radiofrequency waves make heat, which stuns or destroys the nerve tissue that is sending the pain signals to the brain. This technique is often used after a medial branch block has been performed to identify the exact source of pain. 

There are two specific forms of medial branch radiofrequency ablation that can help patients who are suffering from low back and neck pain.