If you are suffering from chronic neck pain, arthritic neck joints, or headaches arising from the cervical facet joints—cervical facet radiofrequency denervation may be an option to explore.
It’s a minimally invasive treatment to consider when other therapies and treatments have failed. Let’s dive into how it works.
The entire spine has facet joints, and radiofrequency denervation may minimize or resolve your pain. Your cervical facet joints empower you to bend and twist your neck, which is something you do all day long on autopilot.
Accidents, injuries, arthritis, and degenerative spine conditions can cause severe and debilitating pain in your cervical facet joints.
Also referred to as radiofrequency ablation, neurotomy, lesioning or rhizolysis this minimally invasive treatment uses thermal radiofrequency energy to remove the tiny nerves that have sustained injury and are causing your pain.
Before denervation is considered, traditional treatment methods must be explored. This includes physical therapy and prescription medications.
If pain persists with traditional treatments for more than 3 months, it’s time to visit a pain management specialist to explore your options.
Before denervation, your physician will perform a test to see if cervical medial branch blocks work for you.
This test procedure is performed by using an x-ray guided device to inject a local numbing anesthetic into your damaged nerves. If this test reduces your pain by at least 80% you are an ideal candidate for radiofrequency.
However, denervation may not be the only option to consider.
If the medial branch block test doesn’t work, your pain management physician will discuss your other options. While safe and effective for most, radiofrequency denervation isn’t an option if:
Not to worry if denervation isn’t right for you as there are other treatment options to explore.
This outpatient procedure only takes a couple of hours.
Your neck will be sore for the next week or two, but you should be able to return to work within 2 days. You may also experience numbness, bruising, or even a slight increase in pain for the next week or so.
Pain relief should occur in about 3 weeks, and relief will last between 6 to 8 months. Your nerves will gradually grow back, and as they grow back your initial pain may or may not return.
If your pain returns, your physician will discuss your treatment options, which may include another round of radiofrequency denervation.
If you live in the Phoenix area and are suffering from chronic pain lasting more than 3 months or extreme pain after an accident or injury—we invite you to reach out to Atlas Pain Specialists.
We offer a variety of treatment options your general care physician may not offer. You can schedule same-day appointments and will be seen by Dr. Sean Ormond each time you visit. Pain should not be a way of life, so let’s get started!