Whether our time is spent sitting at a desk all day, or up and about moving around our workspace, our legs can do a lot of heavy lifting. If they’re ever strained, overworked or just plain get fatigued, sometimes the solution is just to take a load off and relax for a bit.
But that fix doesn’t always work for everyone. Case in point: Cari Lash, a patient of Arizona Pain Specialists. She has 14 years of experience as a certified medical assistant in dermatology, and for the past eight of those years, she’s had pain all along the sides of her thighs, putting her in tremendous agony. “Anything I did was painful,” Lash explains. “It hurt to move and it got to the point where I would cry myself to sleep because I was in so much pain.”
She tried all of the usual over-the-counter medications, but nothing really worked. That’s when she came to see Dr. McJunkin at Arizona Pain Specialists. With years of experience under his belt diagnosing situations just like Lash’s, he recommended radiofrequency ablation as a solution to her problem.
For the uninitiated, radiofrequency ablation is a procedure designed to use heat and create a nerve lesion over a painful nerve. By doing this, the nerve stops or slows sending the pain signal to the brain, thus decreasing the amount of pain the patient is in.
This is an outpatient procedure, where a small amount of anesthetic is used to numb the area, then a needle is placed into the numbed area and guided towards the affected nerve. Once it’s in the right spot, an electrode is slid down through the needle and the painful nerve is verified. When everything is in the right place, heat is sent through the electrode to dull the surrounding pain fibers and therefore decreasing the amount of pain the patient is in. Think of it like one of those stun guns on Star Trek — it doesn’t kill the nerve, it just stuns it a bit.
“I had zero pain for a couple of months,” Lash says. “I was a little sore for about a month, but the pain was gone. In fact, I haven’t had any pain since the procedure, almost six months ago. I can now enjoy many things that hurt me before, including biking, running, long trips, yoga and several other physical activities — it’s awesome.”
Better yet, she never had to go in for a traditional surgery as some might recommend, forcing her out of work for days or possibly weeks. Each procedure was performed as an outpatient, allowing her to get in and out of the doctor’s office efficiently and quickly.
Would she do it again? Of course. “Doctors or chiropractors never told me to seek pain management,” Lash says. “I had to find it myself — thank God I did. This is the best thing I’ve ever done. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.”
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