Lots of people have Neck pain. It can happen because of things like getting hurt, sitting or standing the wrong way, feeling stressed, getting older, or having arthritis. Neck pain can be a little bit painful or very painful. It can make it hard to do everyday things like driving, working, sleeping, or doing things you enjoy.

Roger’s Story

Let’s talk about “Roger”. He’s 55 years old and works as an accountant. He likes spending time with his family, playing golf and pickleball, and going on cruises with his wife. But for the past few years, he’s had neck pain and stiffness that made his life hard and frustrating.

Roger’s neck pain started slowly. At first, he didn’t think much of it. He thought it was just part of getting older. He tried to deal with it by taking pain medicine you can buy at the store and using heat or ice. But over time, his neck pain got worse and happened more often. He started to feel a dull ache in the back of his neck, as well as sharp pains that spread to his shoulders and arms. He also noticed that his neck became less flexible and more stiff, and he had trouble turning his head to check his blind spots when driving. He almost got into a few accidents because of his limited neck movement, and his wife finally convinced him to see a doctor.

Roger went to his doctor, who told him he had cervical facet pain. This is a type of neck arthritis that affects the small joints in the spine called facet joints. These joints let the spine bend and twist, but they can also get inflamed and irritated because of wear and tear, injury, or inflammation. Cervical facet pain can cause symptoms like neck pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, headaches, and referred pain to the shoulders, arms, or upper back.

Roger’s doctor gave him some muscle relaxants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help him with his pain and inflammation. He also sent him to a physical therapist, who taught Roger some exercises and stretches to improve his neck strength and flexibility. Roger followed his doctor’s and therapist’s advice, and he noticed some improvement in his pain and mobility. After a few weeks, Roger told his doctor that he felt like the medication and therapy had made him feel about 30% to 40% better. However, he still felt that his pain was not well controlled, since he was not able to do his normal activities. He was frustrated that he could not play golf or enjoy his hobbies without feeling pain and discomfort. He wanted to find a better and longer-lasting solution for his neck pain.

How Radiofrequency Ablation Helped Roger with His Neck Pain 

Roger decided to visit us here at Red Butte Pain Solutions. I met with Roger, looked at his medical history, did a physical examination, and ordered an x-ray and MRI to confirm his diagnosis and make sure there wasn’t anything else going on in his neck that was being missed. After meeting with him and looking at his films, I talked with Roger about the different treatment options available for his condition, including radiofrequency ablation.

Radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, is a procedure that uses heat to destroy the nerve endings that send pain signals from the facet joints to the brain. By blocking these pain signals, RFA can provide significant and lasting pain relief for patients with cervical facet pain. RFA can also improve the function and mobility of the neck and reduce the need for medication.

Roger was interested in trying RFA, and he agreed to undergo a diagnostic test called medial branch blocks. These are injections of local anesthetic into the nerves that supply the facet joints. The purpose of this test is to find out if the facet joints are the source of the pain, and if RFA would work. Roger received the medial branch blocks, and he reported a 95% reduction in his pain for a few hours. This confirmed that his pain was coming from the facet joints, and that he was a good candidate for RFA.

Roger scheduled his ablation procedure, which was done with x-ray guidance in our clinic under local anesthesia and sedation. The procedure involved inserting a thin needle into the skin near the facet joints and passing a small electric current through the needle to create a lesion on the nerve endings. The procedure took about 15 to 20 minutes, and Roger was able to go home the same day. He experienced some soreness and bruising at the injection site, but he recovered quickly and did not have any complications.

Roger noticed a big improvement in his pain and mobility after the RFA procedure. He reported that his pain level went from 8 out of 10 to 2 out of 10, and that he was able to turn his head more easily and comfortably. He was able to do his normal activities, such as driving, working, sleeping, and enjoying his hobbies. He was especially happy that he could play golf again, and that he could travel with his wife without worrying about his neck pain. Roger’s wife was grateful that she didn’t feel like he was taking her life in his hands every time he made a lane change on the freeway.

Are You Suffering from Neck Pain? 

If you are like Roger, and you have chronic neck pain that affects your daily life, you may benefit from radiofrequency ablation. RFA is a safe and effective treatment option for cervical facet pain, and it can provide long-term pain relief and improved function. RFA can also help you reduce your dependence on pain medication, and avoid more invasive treatments, such as surgery. 

At Red Butte Pain Solutions, we are committed to helping you overcome your pain and improve your quality of life. We have a team of experienced and compassionate pain specialists who can diagnose and treat your neck pain using the latest and most advanced techniques, such as radiofrequency ablation. We will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that suits your needs and goals. 

If you want to learn more about radiofrequency ablation, or if you want to schedule a consultation with one of our pain specialists, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you with your pain.