Retired Teacher Comes Back With A Sense of Freedom

Not much slows Vinceanne Casale down. Not even severe scoliosis.

“I’m a real doer, shaker, go-er,” Vinceanne says. “I just had to do it in pain.”

Until recently, she adds, when Dr. Michael Wolff and the staff at Southwest Spine & Sports treated the 73-year-old Scottsdale resident with Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA).

“It’s been wonderful since he did this procedure,” Vinceanne says. “I can do everything and without the walker or cane.” Her balance has improved, she explains, and she walks more upright after walking bent over and not being able to stand up straight for the better part of five years.

Having lived with scoliosis and ongoing discomfort all her life, the retired teacher has put up with doctor visits along with the pain. In 2007, Vinceanne had rods put in her back another medical practice, “from top to bottom,” she says. That was necessary, but still not pain-free.

“I’ve had injections at base of my spine before,” Vinceanne says. “They helped for a limited time, but this ablation has given me relief.” She estimates her relief from pain to be around 80 percent better. “This has given me real freedom.”

Before the procedure, Vinceanne learned to accommodate the pain. She also has known Dr. Wolff and the staff at SWSS since she moved to Arizona from her native Pennsylvania 20 years ago.

“Dr. Wolff has been wonderful,” Vinceanne says. “He knows all kinds of things because I have all this hardware in my back. He’s the only doctor who’s able to navigate the needles and things and give me the epidurals.” In fact, a doctor at another practice even broke a needle off once while attempting an epidural.

Even when administered properly, epidurals and other treatments offered momentary relief. Some treatments lasted from five days to six weeks, she adds. Nothing worked long-term until the recent RFA.

The expert care has made life bearable, Vinceanne says, describing herself as a well-kept and sophisticated 73-year-0ld. She explains the back pain was difficult to bear emotionally. Despite dressing well and keeping her hair styled, the back pain took its toll before the recent ablation at SWSS. “I’m put-together, but I couldn’t walk upright, it just bothered me a lot,” she notes. “The ablation procedure gave me more than physical relief, it gave me psychological freedom.”

It’s no surprise that Vinceanne wants to spread the word about her experience with Radiofrequency Ablation at Southwest Spine & Sports. “I referred a friend to Dr. Wolff,” she says. “She thinks he walks on water.”

Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The largest axial joint in your body is the Sacroiliac (SI) Joint, which lies next to the bottom of your spine, just above the tailbone (coccyx). This small but very strong joint has many important functions, including bolstering stability, allowing adequate range of motion, and acting as a shock-absorber.

Pain generated in the SI joint or surrounding area can present as low back pain, leg pain, sacral pain, pelvic pain, or gluteal pain, and the intensity can vary significantly. Numbness, popping, clicking, or groin pain can also occur. SI joint pain affects between 15 and 25% of people.

Radiofrequency Ablation is a safe and proven nonsurgical means of SI joint pain treatment. It works by using a low level of radio frequency current to heat up a small area of nervous tissue, interrupting the pain signals. For patients who obtain significant but only short-term benefit from diagnostic blocks, RFA may provide a reasonable treatment alternative. The paper written by Dr. Anita Gupta, DO, Pharm D in Pain Medicine News June 2010 reviews several techniques for RFA but sites current evidence favoring lateral branch RF lesioning as the most effective treatment option.

At Southwest Spine & Sports, all our fellowship trained and board-certified Physicians are qualified to perform these RFA techniques. Contact our office today (480) 860-8998 or website today to schedule an appointment and help us to help you live a pain-free life.