Cervical Radiofrequency Ablation
is a method used to reduce pain coming from the facet joints in the neck. The facet joints are the lateral joints in the spine. These can be damaged causing headaches, localized neck pain even pain radiating to the shoulders. First a positive diagnostic block is done to determine that the facets are causing the pain. Radiofrequency ablation can provide 70-80% relief of this pain for those that have a positive diagnostic block.
How is it done?
Radiofrequency ablation can be done with either local or IV anesthetic. The nerves that branch from these joints, the medial branches, are heated causing a disruption in the pain signal and decreasing pain.
There may be temporary discomfort and numbness in the area after the procedure. It may take a few weeks to get the full benefit from the procedure but the relief can last 6 months to 2 years.