Chronic neck pain often comes from arthritis of the joints in the neck. If you have only pain in the neck and it’s not radiating anywhere else in your body, it’s not likely you’ll be recommended to have surgery.
If you only have pain in your neck, I would be happy to see you and evaluate whether you’re a candidate for a treatment known as radiofrequency ablation of the nerves of the facet joint in the neck.
Radiofrequency ablation is a cutting-edge medical procedure tailored to alleviate chronic pain by using radiowave energy. This energy targets specific nerves, producing heat and interrupting pain signals sent to the brain. Think of it like a sophisticated reset button for problematic nerve pathways. While the idea might sound intense, the procedure is minimally invasive and strategically designed to offer long-lasting relief for pain originating from various joints, especially in the spine.
Given its precision and effectiveness, radiofrequency ablation has become a preferred choice for many patients seeking a reprieve from persistent pain without surgery. Just like other treatments, it’s essential to have a thorough evaluation to determine if it’s the right fit for your unique condition.
Spine and Neck Joint Anatomy
The spine, from the neck down to the tailbone, consists of segments with joints between them. As you get older, these joints become arthritic, and they can be a source of pain anywhere from the top of your neck to the bottom of your spine.
Pain Characteristics and Diagnosis
When the joints of the neck become a source of pain, you tend to have pain in the neck related to neck movements up and down, side to side. Without much radiation away from the neck, this type of pain will often respond well to the treatment of the joints, known as the facet joints.
I would probably get X-rays and consider doing injections of these nerves of your neck with numbing medicine and local anesthetic to confirm this is the source of your pain. If these nerve blocks, nerve injection would relieve your pain temporarily, which tells me you’re likely to respond well to the ablation of the same nerves. A procedure would be done with a special type of needle where the tip is heat-able, there are no stitches, no cutting, no recovery time involved in doing this procedure, and pain relief will usually occur within a couple of days.
Afterward, the duration of the effect is about a year. Unfortunately, the nerves do not stay destroyed, and they grow back. That’s when the pain is going to recur if you get relief after nerve ablation. There’s no reason I can’t do the nerve ablation a second time.
Chronic Neck Pain Treatment Options
We hope this helps you understand at least one of the treatment options we offer for chronic neck pain. We’ve helped many locals like you with chronic neck pain. If the pain comes back or you would like an evaluation, contact Carolina Regional Orthopedics.