Short-term effects of pulsed radiofrequency on chronic refractory cervical radicular pain

Gyu-Sik Choi, Sang-Ho Ahn, Yun-Woo Cho, Dong-Kyu Lee
Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine 2011, 35 (6): 826-32

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the short-term effectiveness of pulsed radiofrequency on the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in patients with chronic refractory cervical radicular pain.

METHOD: Fifteen patients (13 males, 2 females; mean age, 55.9 years) with chronic radicular pain due to cervical disc herniation or foraminal stenosis refractory to active rehabilitative management, including transforaminal cervical epidural steroid injection and exercise, were selected. All patients received pulsed radiofrequency on the symptomatic cervical dorsal root ganglion and were carefully evaluated for neurologic deficits and side effects. The clinical outcomes were measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS) and a neck disability index (NDI) before treatment, one and three months after treatment. Successful pain relief was defined as a 50% or greater reduction in the VAS score as compared with the pre-treatment score. After three months, we categorized the patients' satisfaction.

RESULTS: The average VAS for radicular pain was reduced significantly from 5.3 at pretreatment to 2.5 at 3 months post-treatment (p<0.05). Eleven of 15 patients (77.3%) after cervical pulsed RF stimulation reported pain relief of 50% or more at the 3 month follow-up. The average NDI was significantly reduced from 44.0% at pretreatment to 35.8% 3 months post-treatment (p<0.05). At 3 months post-treatment, eleven of fifteen patients (73.3%) were satisfied with their status. No adverse effects were observed.

CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate that the application of pulsed radiofrequency on DRG might be an effective short-term intervention for chronic refractory cervical radicular pain. Further studies, including a randomized controlled trial with long-term follow-up, are now needed.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"