What is Radiofrequency Block: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

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Definition & Overview

Radiofrequency block, also referred to as a radiofrequency nerve block, radiofrequency lesioning, or radiofrequency ablation, is a procedure to reduce neck and back pain using radio waves. It effectively reduces pain for a period of 6-9 months, after which it will need to be repeated.

Intense neck and back pains are usually a result of the inflammation of the facet joints located between the vertebrae of the spinal column typically due to injury or diseases. Nerves located at the facet joints carry pain signals to the brain when the joints are irritated.

A radiofrequency block prevents the pain signals from reaching the brain, but this procedure is only performed when other forms of pain relief treatments have failed.

Who Should Undergo & Expected Results

Back and neck pains can be so intense that they can severely limit a person’s movements, even to the point of immobilization. Pain relief medications are usually the first line of defense, but in cases where other forms of treatment proved to be ineffective, a radiofrequency block is typically recommended by doctors. The procedure is ideal for those who suffer from intense and chronic pain caused by injuries or whiplash, prior spine injuries, spinal arthritis or neuropathic pain conditions.

The procedure is usually recommended for patients who experience:

  • Pain in one or both sides of their backs
  • Pain that originates all the way to the thighs but does not go past the knees
  • Pain that worsens when twisting the body or lifting objects
    Although a radiofrequency block is generally effective in providing pain relief, the effects differ from person to person. The procedure may be more effective for some patients, but less so for others. It is worth nothing that no doctor can accurately predict the level of pain relief a patient may achieve from the procedure.

How Does the Procedure Work?

The entire procedure may only take a couple of hours to complete and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Prior to the procedure, several tests will be conducted to determine if the patient qualifies for the treatment.

The success of the procedure relies heavily on the ability of the doctor to locate the exact nerves responsible for the pain. The test involves injecting numbing medications into the nerves that the doctor believes to deliver pain signals to the brain. The patient is deemed a good candidate for the procedure if the pain is significantly reduced following the injection of the numbing medication.

Although a radiofrequency block is considered to be an outpatient procedure, it requires preparation. Patients will be instructed to:

  • Avoid tobacco products or chewing gum on the day of the appointment
  • Refrain from using perfumes or lotions prior to the procedure
  • Any medications should be taken at least two hours before the procedure
  • Arrange for someone to take the patient home

On the day of the appointment, the patient will be asked to wear a hospital gown and to lie face down on an x-ray table. An x-ray device called a fluoroscope will be used by the doctor to correctly identify the exact nerves and to guide the needles into their proper places.

Most patients who undergo the procedure feel some degree of anxiety. If requested, the doctor can provide medications intravenously to keep them comfortable and calm. The doctor will also inject numbing medications on the area of the skin where the needles will be placed, making the procedure painless.

Once the needles have been inserted, radio waves will be delivered through them to prevent pain signals from passing through the nerves and reaching the brain.

When the doctor determines that the procedure was successful, the patient will be transferred to a recovery area where he can rest for a while before going home. The area where the needles were inserted will be sore for some time, but ice packs should be able to provide some relief. The patient will then be instructed to avoid taking a bath or shower for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

Pain relief achieved through a radiofrequency block is only temporary, but it should last anywhere between 6 to 9 months. Once the effects subside, the patient may elect to undergo the same procedure again.

Possible Risks and Complications

Any type of medical procedure has an associated risk or possibility of complications, more so if done on the spinal column. The immediate side effects of a radiofrequency block are temporary numbness or pain at the injected site.

There is also a possibility of more serious side effects or complications. There have been reported cases of paralysis, bleeding, nerve injury, infections, or numbness that lasts longer than expected.


  • Society of Interventional Radiology


What is Radio⁢ Frequency Blocking?

Radio Frequency (RF) blocking is a shielding practice used to‌ prevent ⁢the transmission of high-frequency electromagnetic energy ⁤produced by electronic ‌devices. RF blocking typically ⁣involves ​adding a protective ⁢layer of shielding — such as⁣ tin foil, ⁣metal mesh, or an RF shield​ — to a device ​or ​material‍ that could otherwise carry signals. By encapsulating the material‍ or device, radio frequency waves are prevented from entering or exiting. The most common applications for RF blocking ⁤include⁣ the⁤ protection of data, equipment, and health.

Overview of ​Radio Frequency Blocking

RF blocking is essentially a barrier around⁣ a⁣ material, component, or device‍ that prevents‍ radio waves from entering or exiting. It is also known as RF ‌shielding⁤ and is made​ up of materials that resist the passage⁣ of electromagnetic radiation.⁣ The most common applications of RF shielding are in commercial, industrial,⁤ and military settings.

There are two main ⁤types of ‌RF shielding materials: metallic and nonmetallic. Metallic RF⁢ shielding⁣ is usually made of aluminum, copper, ​electronic grade ⁢steel, and stainless steel. These materials have high electrical conductivity, which is necessary for optimal RF‌ blocking.‍ Nonmetallic shielding materials include plastics, rubber, or composites⁣ with low permittivity and⁢ high dielectric⁣ strength.

Benefits of Radio Frequency Blocking

The primary ​benefits of RF shielding are protection for equipment, data, and people. ‍By encapsulating electronic devices, RF blocking helps prevent interference from networks, backdoors from cyberattacks, ​and exposure to potentially hazardous radiation. RF shielding also helps protect personnel by‍ isolating sensitive equipment from electrical fields and reducing ⁤the⁢ chances of electrical shock.

Data ⁤Protection

RF ⁣shielding prevents electromagnetic radiation from entering or exiting a ‍device, thereby protecting both stored and ‌transmitted data from being ​intercepted and compromised. This added ​layer of⁢ shielding ‌makes ​it harder for hackers to hack ​into systems, preventing ‍potential data breaches.

Equipment Protection

RF shielding also helps protect electronic equipment from​ electromagnetic interference‍ (EMI). ​RF shielding‌ works⁣ to attenuate noise, ⁢which can cause electronic components to malfunction ​or even ​become damaged. The use of RF blocking‌ materials ⁤also ‍helps reduce the heat generated by electronic components, ​minimizing the ⁣risk of overheating.

Health Protection

RF shielding ⁢also helps to safeguard‍ people from⁢ hazardous ​radiation, which ⁤can be harmful to the body. By encapsulating electronic devices and components, RF blocking helps to reduce the amount‌ of radiation that reaches the human body. ⁢RF shielding also helps to reduce the amount of electromagnetic smog in the air,‌ which can be dangerous when in high concentrations.‍

Expected Results from Radio Frequency ⁤Blocking

If correctly applied, RF shielding is an effective‍ way⁢ to protect signals,‌ equipment, data, and personnel from potential harm. Here ⁤are some of the expected results ⁤from using RF blocking:

Signal Blocking

RF blocking is ⁣an effective way to prevent⁣ signals ⁣from⁢ entering outside sources, or from leaking outside of a⁤ controlled environment. The ⁣expected ⁣result is that signals ⁢will remain ​secure within the encapsulated area, and will ⁣not be intercepted or compromised.

Equipment ⁤Protection

RF shielding helps​ protect electronic equipment ‌from potentially damaging EMI. By reducing noise levels, electronic components should remain in‍ good ⁣working order, and not overheat and ‍malfunction.

Health Protection

RF shielding is an⁤ effective way of reducing the potential harm caused by radiation and electromagnetic smog. By⁢ controlling and⁢ reducing the amount of radiation that‍ enters ⁤an area, individuals ‌should see improved health and well-being.


Radio Frequency‍ blocking is a shielding practice ⁣used ‍to prevent⁣ the transmission of high-frequency electromagnetic energy. By using RF shielding materials, signals can be blocked, equipment ‌can be‍ protected from ​electromagnetic interference, ⁢and the risk of radiation exposure and electromagnetic smog can‌ be reduced.⁤ When​ correctly applied, RF blocking can ‍be an⁢ effective way to protect data, components, and ‍personnel from potential harm.

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