Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation

Read this article to learn about a procedure used to treat neck pain

Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation

Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation

What is Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation?

Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation is a procedure used to treat neck pain. The cervical facet refers to a part of the vertebra in the neck through which nerve fibers arise from the spinal cord. Radiofrequency denervation is a procedure similar to a nerve block but that utilizes radiofrequency and offers a long term solution to pain.

Who needs Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation?

Wear and tear of the cervical facets occurs with advancing age and constant movement of the neck, which can lead to pain during movement of the neck joints. While painkillers may help relieve the pain, in some cases the pain can persist despite maximal medical treatment. In such cases, nerve blocks can be performed that block the conduction of pain signals through the nerves around the facet joints.

The aim of radiofrequency denervation is to provide long-term pain relief. These effects can last for a few months up to a couple of years but sometimes the pain can return as the nerve fibers grow again. In such cases, a repeat procedure may need to be performed.

What are the steps in Cervical Facet Radiofrequency Denervation?

Preparing for the Procedure

This procedure may take up to half an hour to perform. You may be offered mild sedation during the procedure.

Numbing the Skin

After isolating the cervical facet joint that is causing the pain using an x-ray, the skin that covers the area is numbed with a local anesthetic.

Inserting the Needle

Using X-ray or fluoroscopic guidance, your surgeon will insert a tiny needle through the numbed skin, all the way to the cervical facet joint.

Administering Radiofrequency Waves

Radiofrequency waves, in the form of a tiny electric current passed through the needle, are then administered. These waves generate heat and destroy the nerve fibers that are causing the pain.

Reducing Inflammation

Once the nerve fibers have been destroyed, a small amount of steroids may be injected to help reduce any inflammation that may occur.

After Surgery

Following the procedure, the patients are observed and subsequently discharged home. Patients may feel mild tingling or numbness in the area where the procedure was performed. This is normal and passes after a short while. It is advised that a family member or friend take the patient home as the sedation takes time to wear off and driving is a risky.

Patients may experience mild amount of bleeding and bruising at the site of the procedure. Allergic reactions are rare and usually towards the medication used rather than the procedure itself. Radiofrequency denervation should be avoided if patients are suffering from an active infection or are on blood thinning medication.

It can take anywhere between a month to 6 weeks to recover fully following the procedure. Patients are recommended to rest for at least a couple of days before embarking on any sort of physical activity. When doing so, activities should be light and easy to perform for a few days before attempting anything strenuous.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2018 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

This bone condition affects millions all over the world. Do you know what it is?

Osteoarthritis

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a disease of the bone and joints where there is breakdown of the joint tissue and structure, resulting in pain in the joints and reduced joint movement. As it involves joint breakdown, or degeneration, it is a degenerative joint disease. It is the most common type of joint disease seen across the world.

Osteoarthritis is commonly seen in individuals over the age of 50. It is also more common in women. Millions of people all over the world suffer from osteoarthritis, with the American College of Rheumatology reporting that over 27 million people in the United States suffer from it.

What causes Osteoarthritis?

There are many causes of osteoarthritis, but the most common cause is aging. As one gets old, it is natural for the joints to get weaker and the tissues to lose their strength. This results in degeneration of the bone and joint tissue, resulting in osteoarthritis. In addition, there is also inflammation of the bone and joints that causes pain.

However, osteoarthritis can occur in younger patients, especially those who place their joints under a lot of stress every day. These can include athletes, as well as people involved in occupations that commonly stress the back and joints, such as builders or painters.

People who have a family member who suffers from osteoarthritis can also develop this condition. Also, patients who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

There are a number of symptoms that patients can experience when suffering from osteoarthritis. These can include joint stiffness and reduced movement, pain upon movement and swelling of the affected joints. As a result of these, the patient may have trouble performing their daily tasks, prompting them to see a doctor. When examined, patients may have tender, swollen joints with limited capability of movement.

Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hips, knees, lower back and the small joints of the hands and feet. Among these, the knee is the most common joint affected.

In most cases, osteoarthritis can be diagnosed from clinical history and examination of the patient. In some cases, x-rays will reveal damage to the joint with changes specific to osteoarthritis, such as irregular bone margins and narrowed joint spaces. In some cases, an MRI scan may need to be performed.

How is Osteoarthritis treated?

There are a number of different treatment options that your doctor may offer you. These can include:

  • Pain killers: These may be offered to reduce the inflammation and to reduce pain. Drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are often used.
  • Physical therapy: Sometimes, doctors may refer patients to a physical therapist, who may prescribe a treatment plan that will help reduce pain and increase joint movement. They may even offer certain aids to help walk about and manage tasks at home.
  • Steroid injections: These may be offered by the doctor in case pain is severe and is not reduced by the above measures. It reduces pain and inflammation significantly when injected into the joint, but repeated injections may be required.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2018 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Back and neck pain don’t have to seem overwhelming. Read today’s article to learn more:

Back and Neck Pain Overview

What are Back and Neck Pain?

We don't usually think about our necks or backs, so when pain or irritation begins, it can seem overwhelming. That pain can last for hours, days, or years, depending on the cause.

This article refers to acute and chronic pain. Acute pain is sudden, sharp, and related to tissue damage. Acute pain can subside instantly or last three to six months. If acute pain isn't relieved, it can lead to chronic pain. Chronic pain continues even after an injury has healed and lasts more than three to six months. The source of chronic pain can be something identifiable, like an ongoing injury, or something unidentifiable, like when no injury is present. Chronic pain is described as an aching, deep, burning or dull feeling that carries into the extremities.

What causes Back and Neck Pain Overview?

Most pain in the back and neck is caused by issues with muscles. This is often more mild pain, caused by muscle tension, cramps, or sprains. Poor posture can cause back and neck pain by forcing the spine into an incorrect position. This position causes weight to be distributed incorrectly. Pain can also be caused by wear-and-tear from aging or overuse through conditions like arthritis. This can cause degeneration that leads to nerve compression. Traumatic injury can also causes neck pain. This can be through a sudden impact or blow and can cause conditions like herniated disc.

What are the Vertebral Discs?

Your spine is made of different sections of vertebral discs. The cervical section of the spine is in your neck, the thoracic section is in your upper back, and the lumbar section is in your lower back. Vertebral discs separate the vertebrae in your spine, acting as shock absorbers for the spinal column by providing a cushion between the vertebrae. These discs are made of tough, elastic material that allows the spine to bend and twist naturally. The tough outer wall of the disc is called the annulus fibrosis, while the soft material contained inside the disc wall is called the nucleus pulposis.

Vertebral Disc Wall Weakness

Despite their strength and elasticity, vertebral discs can be damaged by injury or everyday wear-and-tear from aging. Often, this damage starts with cracking and weakening of fibers in the disc's annulus fibrosis. Radial tears can form in the disc wall, in or near sensitive nerve fibers.

Nucleus Pushing Through The Vertebral Disc Wall

As the outer wall weakens, the nucleus pulposis will push through the wall's tear to the edge of the disc wall. This additional pressure creates back pain at the level of the affected disc.

Pressure Against Nerve Roots

If the nucleus pulposis pushes through and out of the disc wall's outer edge, it's called a herniation or a rupture. This herniated disc material may put pressure against the nerve roots near the disc, which can cause radiating pain to travel down one or both of the legs.

How are Back and Neck Pain Overview treated?

Treatment of any back or neck pain will vary depending on the severity and location of the condition. Your doctor may recommend conservative treatment methods like physical therapy, injections, rest, activity modification, medication, or others. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2018 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.

Bad Posture

In "How to Destroy Your Spine Part 1," you learned that lifting things incorrectly can wreck your back. But did you know you can destroy your spine even if you're just standing or sitting down? Even if it doesn't seem like you're doing anything physically taxing, poor posture may be ruining your back. Here's how:

Bad Posture:

When standing, do you tilt your head in any direction, lock your knees, or put your weight on one foot? Do you slump your shoulders forward or keep them pulled so far back that your abdomen is pushed forward? When you sit, especially for long periods of time, do you find yourself leaning slouching or slumping? Do you put all your weight on one hip or lean toward your work? If you answered yes to any of these, your posture may be hurting you.

A healthy spine makes a slight S-shape. There should be a curve inward at your lower back, a slight curve outward at your upper back, and then another gentle curve inward at the top of your spine. A healthy spine has these curves, and good posture helps you retain them. Bad posture can increase the angles of the curves, putting your joints and bones in the wrong alignment and causing your body to work harder. This can cause fatigue, muscle strain, headaches, and back pain, but it can also put you at an increased risk of injury.

Good standing posture boils down to holding your chest high, keeping your shoulders relaxed but back, pulling in your abdomen and buttocks, and balancing your weight evenly on both of your feet. Your feet should be kept parallel.

When sitting, it's best to keep your back slightly arched and your head and shoulders straight. Keep your buttocks and back against the back of the chair, and your feet flat on the ground. You should make any necessary adjustments to your workspace to ensure you're sitting at a good height, preferably one where your hips are at the same level as your knees. It's also good to stand and stretch by putting your hands on your lower back and arching slightly backwards at least every hour to give your back a break.

An easy way to determine your best posture is to stand up straight against a wall, touching your buttocks, shoulder blades, and the back of your head to the wall. Keeping your heels two to four inches away from the wall, place your hand behind your lower back's curve with your palm flat against the wall. There should be approximately enough space for the thickness of your hand. Tighten the muscles in your abdomen if there's too much space and arch your back more if there's too little space. Once this is accomplished, you've found the correct posture for your body and should try to maintain it.


All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2018 VoxMD.com, All Rights Reserved.