Nerve Block Instead of Taking Medications Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) is considered to be associated with pain that lasts more than three to six months. Approximately 25% of those who develop pain conditions become diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome. It often starts with conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, joint problems, headaches, nerve damage and muscle pains and strains, to name a few. These conditions can affect all age groups and both men and women. People with major depression and other mental health issues are more likely to develop CPS. While therapy is often used to assist in the treatment of depression, a procedure that can assist in pain relief is a nerve block. One type of nerve block is Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). RFA is used to treat severe chronic pain in the lower (lumbar) back, where radio frequency waves are used to produce heat on specifically identified nerves surrounding the facet joints on either side of the lumbar spine. By generating heat around the nerve, the nerve gets ablated thus destroying its ability to transmit signals to the brain. The nerves to be ablated are identified through injections of local anesthesia (such as lidocaine) prior to the RFA procedure. If the local anesthesia injections provide temporary pain relief, then RFA is performed on the nerve(s) that responded well to the injections. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure which can usually be done in day-surgery clinics, going home shortly after completion of the procedure. The patient is awake during the procedure, so risks associated with general anesthesia are avoided. An intravenous line may be inserted so that mild sedatives can be administered. This procedure can give relief for up to fifteen months and in some cases, medication prescriptions can be reduced or become unnecessary. Talk to your pain management physician and determine if a nerve block is a right course of treatment for you.