Pain medicine specialists have helped develop a noninvasive treatment for knee arthritis that uses cooled radio energy to target and interrupt pain signals.
The treatment, called Coolief, is said to be able to provide months of relief from chronic arthritis pain.
Experts argue it also decreases the need for regular prescription medication and over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs which can cause long-term health issues.
“We’re not taking away the arthritis, just the arthritis pain,” said Dr Amin Sandeep, a pain specialist at Rush University Medical Centre.
“We’re changing the wiring of the knee to interrupt the pain signal.”
Felicia McLoden, a 65-year-old grandmother had the procedure and said she felt immediate relief.
“The arthritis was so bad that I could barely step down without severe pain.
“I thought I was going to limp for the rest of my life,” she said.
“I can do things now. I don’t even know what I want to do, I just know it’s everything.”
She said she is now free of the excruciating pain in her right knee that had made simple tasks like grocery shopping or playing with her grandchildren impossible.
Experts have been working with radio frequency to treat chronic pain for years.
Radiofrequency (RF) ablation technology, uses the heat from radio wave energy to temporarily neutralise specific nerves that cause chronic pain.
The Coolief RF technology combines cold and heat energy to extend the pain-free period much longer.
The procedure uses needles and water-cooled electrodes inserted into the knee target three nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain.
RF energy passes through the needle and heats nerve tissue, reducing those nerves’ ability to send pain signals to the brain for extended periods of time.
By also cooling the targeted area with the water-cooled electrodes, the procedure creates a treatment area that is larger than what occurs via conventional, heat-only RF treatments.
That larger treatment area in turn extends the time the nerves need to resume sending pain signals.
The procedure has been approved by health officials in the US following a 2016 study showing that the Coolief system provided higher levels of pain relief for much longer time periods than intra-articular corticosteroids (cortisone injections).
Arthritis symptoms – woman hails THIS ‘miracle’ device previously used on horses