Current Issue - September/October - Vol 20 Issue 6


  1. 2017;20;E961-E967Comparison of Intraarticular Pulsed Radiofrequency and Intraarticular Corticosteroid Injection for Management of Cervical Facet Joint Pain
    Observational Study
    Ji Woon Lim, MD, Yun-Woo Cho, MD, PhD, Dong Gyu Lee, MD, and Min Cheol Chang, MD.

BACKGROUND: Disorders of the facet joints are some of the most common sources of chronic spinal pain. Facet joint pain is responsible for approximately 50% of patients with chronic neck pain. Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) stimulation, after placing needle electrodes into the joint space, has been recently reported for the management of joint pain.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of intraarticular (IA) PRF for the management of cervical facet joint (CFJ) pain. In addition, we compared the effect of IA PRF to IA corticosteroid injection.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SETTING: University hospital.

METHODS: Forty patients with CFJ pain were included in the study and randomly assigned to one of 2 groups: the IA PRF group and the IA corticosteroid (ICI) group. There were 20 patients in each group. Pain intensity was evaluated using a numeric rating scale (NRS) at pre-treatment, and one, 3, and 6 months after treatment.

RESULTS: When compared to the pretreatment NRS scores, patients in both groups showed a significant decrease in NRS scores at one, 3, and 6 months after treatment (P = 0.000). Changes in the NRS scores over time were not significantly different between the groups (P = 0.227). Six months after treatment, 10 patients (50.0%) in the PRF group and 12 patients (60.0%) in the ICI group reported successful pain relief (pain relief of = 50%).

LIMITATIONS: A small number of participants.

CONCLUSION: IA PRF stimulation is as effective as IA corticosteroid injection in attenuating CFJ pain. The use of PRF could decrease CFJ pain, while avoiding the adverse effects of steroids.

Key words: Cervical facet joint pain, pulsed radiofrequency, intraarticular stimulation, chronic pain, corticosteroid injection, numeric rating scale