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Cervical Facet Radiofrequency

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am getting a RFA at C7-T2. I have had neck pain for around 3 years after a couple car accidents. The MRI showed that I have a congenital fusion at C5-6 and two bulging discs at C3-4 and C4-5. I had an x-ray a few years later and discovered a cervical rib on both sides which is contributing to my thoracic outlet syndrome. I have had 3 facet joint injections. The first two did not help at all. The first one was C3-C6, the second one was occipital area and C1-3, and the last one was C7-T2. The first two did not help at all but the last one helped my pain about 80% improvement but it only lasted a few days.

My doctor said that a RFA would be the next step. I am getting it done tomorrow and am getting worried about the the side effects and the pain afterwards. My doctor said it could be weeks of burning sensations and pretty bad pain that will require medication. I have been reading other posts of people who have had similiar symptoms after the RFA. I was wondering if anyone could let me know if this procedure has helped them and for how long and how bad the pain afterwards is (like am I going to be able to drive my car, work, or is it really bad that you have to take some time off of work?)

Thank you for your help!


  • Hey, I just had my C3-C6 done last Thursday. I am at 1 week today. This is my second radio frequency. I had C2 thru C7 done July of 07. It took about 12 weeks before I felt much better.My first time and this time my neck is SO weak I was not able to drive due to severe stiffness where the injections were and due to weakness it was hard to drive in a car as a passenger because it was hard to hold my head up. Mine was higher up cervical so maybe you won't have the same problem I hope! the burning is pretty bad I could not stand anything to touch the neck are so this time I shaved a spot on my head so I would not have to brush my hair. BUT After a few weeks I was amazed at how much mobility I had and i could do much more So I am hoping for similar effects. They did not do the same vertebrae this time. They said they could not do so many at one time. I hope everything goes well for you and it is nice to hear about people that can relate to what you are going through GOOD LUCK!
  • went to work the next day - I am a gardener - and one time i had to move 6 yards of mulch the next day - pain meds helped me get thru - but the doc promised me i wouldn't be screwing anything up - I was in pain the day of - and very uncomfortable for a few weeks

    sorry to say that the cervical only last 2-3 mths for me and did give me range of motion - no real help with pain. the t area did nothing - actually made my upper back muscle spasms something fierce.

    worth a shot though
  • I don't need the procedure but i'm just curious as to what do during the procedure.Is it just a machine ,is there needles involved,i hear about this every once in a while on here and never really know anything about it.
  • They stick a cannula in between the vertebra where the very tiny facet joints are then (one of my procedures they simulated the nerve to make sure they had the right one, then when they are on the right nerve they burn it using radio frequency. So I guess the theory is that if you burn (essentially sever) that nerve it will no be able to send pain impulses. My first procedure C2-C3 C4 C5 C6 and C7 stopped severe spasms in my neck traps and between my shoulder blades the very next day. It also stopped my chronic headaches and tingling and crushing pain in my are.
    My current procedure C3 C4 C5 C6 I am 10 days out and still have spasms and and occasional headaches ( could also be caused by 2 teenagers) @) .But I am told that most people do not have immediate relief and see results more in the area of 4 to 8 weeks. I felt OK the first 3 days Day 4 and 5 were horrible! That is all I know for now.
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