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Burning pain after Radio Frequency Ablation to Neck (RFA)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 01/17/2016 - 3:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had extreme neck pain (herniated and degenerative discs) that also lead to severe headaches. After steriod injections were not successful I had the RFA procedure (nearly 2 weeks ago). My headaches are gone (which is wonderful) but there is still some neck and shoulder pain.

The pain/side affects include numbness, skin sensitivity and an uncomfortable burning sensation in my neck and shoulders. The skin sensitivity runs through out my neck, shoulders and even under my arms. Wearing a necklace against my skin is unbearable. Even the collars and the seams of shirts irritates my skin. It reminds me of the feeling that I had with shingles, minus the rash.

Has anyone else experienced this with an RFA procedure? If so, did it last or eventually go away? Is there anything that can be done to help with these post treatment issues?


  • Sorry about your pain. It has been 3 weeks since my RFA in the spine.Every day seems to get a little worse.Am seeing my Dr. tomorrow and hope he has some amswers. Good Luck !
  • I had Rf on my c3 c4 c5 and c6 6 days ago and am feeling worse everyday, I had my neck done 19 months ago and it was about 3 months or more before I started feeling better. I have odd nerve like burning which is getting worse the last 2 days, I was just looking for someone that can relate to this odd pain ~X(
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  • Hi,

    I had mine done in 4 places in my neck 3/08. I felt like I had a zillion sunburns under my skin in areas. Each week the sunburn sensation lessened. It took 6- 8 weeks for it to go away, but the procedure took 75-80% of my pain area away. It took away all of my neck & trap pain to my shoulder. The only place it didn't work was in my shoulder blade. That pain remained at a 9.5ish. I was very happy with that result, but it only lasted 2-3 months. I went to pain mgt. dr to have it repeated, & I was shocked that they refused. My pain mgt. dr doesn't consider the procedure a success unless it lasts at least six months. I wish they would try it again, but the dr said that the risks outweighed the benefits in terms of time for me. I am now on a pain meds. mgt program.

    Hang in there. I hope that your burning sensation lessens, and I hope that you get great & lasting pain relief!!

    You can PM me if you have any questions.

  • This is all very interesting to me, as RFA is a treatment that my pain Dr. recommends instead of steroid injections.
    Reading these posts, and others elsewhere, makes me very wary of this procedure.
    Why does it hurt so much for so long afterwards?
    Were you warned that this might happen?
  • Peter B said:
    This is all very interesting to me, as RFA is a treatment that my pain Dr. recommends instead of steroid injections.
    Reading these posts, and others elsewhere, makes me very wary of this procedure.
    Why does it hurt so much for so long afterwards?
    Were you warned that this might happen?
    the reason it hurts is because the nerve ending has been burned off,and it takes a while for the nerve to die,i had mine done in 2008,it did work for my nerve pain L-5 S-1,my pain doctor did tell me it would hurt afterwards, and he gave me extra pain meds...
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  • I haven;t been on the site for a while. Glad I found the post. I'm scheduled for RFA on May 14. I am so tired of back problems. My Doc says it has to be repeated every 3 months and you hurt worse for the month after the procedure. So,,I'm doing this to possibly have 2 good months?

  • Hey Tom,

    I hope your procedure goes well. I am a second timer, My first RF procedure was July of 2007 and the results lasted for about a year. The recovery was somewhat painful, tightness at the injection site and severe burning, The Dr.s call it a "BURNING SENSATION". I strongly disagree but that was the worst part. I am currently at 5 weeks after my 2nd RF and I am in Physical therapy and doing OK. So good luck and I will be interested to hear how you are doing!
    Take Care
  • I'm supposed to get this Radio Frequence Denervation procedure done and reading the above notes makes me quite fearful to have it. Just about everyone above has had significant discomfort and for some not much pain relief at all. It makes me wonder, "should I go ahead?" Please let me know what you think. Thanks
  • When the procedure was done on my cervical neck (3) different times, there was always the after effects of having someone messing in that area. It only makes sense - though it is not invasive, the muscles, nerves and so on are a little pissed off. At least that is what the doctors told me.

    I had 2 different doc perform the same procedure and what a difference in pain after wards. The first doc had me lay on my side and it took nearly an hour - my whole body hurt from holding that position for so long and the procedure itself gave me pain. The second doc had me lay on my stomach and it took less time - Thus the pain afterwards was much less.

    Lastly, though it didn't solve my problems, it did give me some relief of pain and gave me much more ROM of my neck. I still continued to have shoulder and sternum/thoracic pain. Now 1 year later, i'd give anything for the slight improvement....but the docs have moved on with other attempts to help me and now it is time for the nuerosurgeron.

    Make you own dicision, but you will never know if it will help YOU or not until you try.

    I even tried the Botox for my neck - now that is one procedure I would never repeat.

    good luck - pm anytime
  • d the right side of my neck on the 15th I was told the radio frequency that the pain would get a little worse than I have had but it seems to feel a little better. The only problem I have is that the back of my neck is numb. I am having the other side done on Wednesday I hope this one is better. I am hoping everything goes well since they have suggested that my back I want to get off all pain medication. Any suggestions
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