Pulsing Away Pain

FRESNO, Calif.

That bold step left many patients -- and their doctors -- wondering how best to treat chronic pain.

One treatment that's gaining popularity is pulsed radiofrequency. For many patients, it's just the kind of relief they've been looking for.

Zelda rockman knows all about pain.

"Everything hurt. I mean, everything made me hurt," Rockman told Ivanhoe.

Deteriorating disks left her neck, shoulders and one arm in constant pain.

"I had reached the point where my daily life was being restricted," Rockman recalled.

After medication, massage and physical therapy failed, she sought relief in Doctor Scott Berger.

"Pain essentially envelopes a person's complete living circumstances," Berger, M.D., pain management specialist at Pain Management Consultants in Boca Raton, FL said.

But Doctor Berger gives many patients relief with pulsed radiofrequency. It targets the nerves.

"They are essentially rendered short-circuited to transmitting painful impulses," Berger explained.

During the treatment, doctors insert a needle near the problem nerve. An electric current then heats the nerve. This is a newer version of standard radiofrequency, which destroys the nerve. Unlike the old treatment, pulsed radiofrequency simply shocks the nerve.

"It does not produce significant enough heat to destroy any tissues in the body," Berger said.

Complications are rare, but there is a chance the surgeon could damage blood vessels or other nerves. Infection is also a risk. The procedure takes about five minutes, and relief is often felt within two to three weeks. For Rockman, the relief was even quicker.

"I was almost completely free immediately after," Rockman said.

Now, she says, she's back to her old pain-free self.

"I just don't think about my body the way I had to consider it previously," Rockman explained.

Doctor Berger says the treatment is not painful because patients are numbed and works well on sciatica, herniated disks, pain caused by enlarged joints, shingles and peripheral neuralgia. It can also help pain at the base of the skull

. The nerves usually remain blocked for six to nine months. The treatment is covered by most insurance, and Doctor Berger says doctors across the country are already using the technique.

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Melissa Medalie at mmedalie@ivanhoe.com. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Ronni Goldstein
Pain Management Consultants
Boca Raton, FL
(561) 962-9600

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