Cervical Radiofrequency Ablation
Could Radiofrequency Ablation Help Your Neck Pain?
Ablation therapy is an effective treatment option for neck pain and it could be recommended by a spinal doctor at Spine Institute of North America. This treatment is effective on pain and spasms in both the neck and shoulder. Radiofrequency ablation works by using a radio wave to heat up the nerve and reducing its ability to sense the pain. The doctor will perform tests to ensure that only the nerves creating the pain sensation are targeted by the ablation therapy.
There are numerous advantages to ablation therapy, including the ability of the doctor to target specific areas that are causing shoulder and neck pain. Our spinal doctors may recommend radiofrequency ablation if you’ve responded well to cervical epidural injections. This is a safe procedure with few chances for complications and a high chance of effective pain reduction.
What Conditions Are Treated by Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Ablation?
- Chronic spinal pain
- Spinal arthritis
- Post-traumatic pain (whiplash)
- Pain after spinal surgery
- Neuropathic pain –Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Peripheral nerve entrapment
Who Is a Candidate for Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Procedure?
Your spinal doctor will likely start with a diagnostic nerve block. This will tell the doctor if your neck pain makes you a good candidate for ablation therapy. The nerve block will also inform the doctor as to where your pain is originating, helping them pinpoint where ablation therapy needs to take place to give you the maximum relief for your neck pain. If the nerve block doesn’t give you any relief, then radiofrequency ablation therapy will not be a good treatment for your shoulder or neck pain.
What Are the Advantages of the Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Procedure?
- It is minimally invasive
- Most patients have short recoveries of a few days
- It’s an outpatient procedure
- No general anesthesia is required
- High rate of positive outcomes
- Good chance of reduction or even complete pain relief
Recovery After Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Ablation
The process of undergoing cervical facet radiofrequency ablation is a fairly short procedure that usually takes about 30 to 90 minutes. Although patients shouldn’t plan on driving, operating heavy machinery or doing any strenuous activity for 24 hours after, many patients feel up to returning to work the following day.
Very rarely do patients complain of any serious complications associated with the cervical facet radiofrequency procedure. But there are a few potential side effects, which are not dangerous and usually resolve in a few days. They include:
- Soreness in the neck or at the injection site
- Muscle spasms
- A slight burning sensation near the treated area, similar to a sunburn
- Possible skin numbness
- Slight headache
We have experienced a high rate of positive outcomes for those undergoing this procedure. The diagnostic nerve block performed by our doctors at Spine Institute of North America will help us determine if undergoing radiofrequency ablation will work for your neck pain. In general, about 30 to 50 percent of patients who have this procedure experience long-term relief for over a year. Of the remaining patients, approximately 50 percent still experience pain relief, although of shorter duration.
When Will You Start Feeling Pain Relief From the Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Procedure?
Don’t worry if it takes a little bit of time to experience the full effects of this procedure. A waiting period is quite common. Most patients experience some soreness after undergoing cervical facet radiofrequency ablation, which is normal. It usually takes a week or two to start feeling a significant improvement in painful symptoms. It’s even possible that as nerves react to the procedure, it can take up to four weeks to feel the full effects. In general, most patients experience pain relief that lasts for six months to a year.
ARE YOU A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR A CERVICAL FACET RADIOFREQUENCY PROCEDURE?
- To see if you are a good candidate for a cervical facet radiofrequency procedure, take our pain evaluation questionnaire and someone from our office will follow-up with you as soon as possible.
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