Millions of Americans suffer every day from chronic neck pain. This may be due to the after effects of whiplash injury. It is well-known that over 10% of those who suffer whiplash in a car accident end up with chronic neck pain.
Arthritis of the neck also can cause chronic pain, and this comes from from good old wear and tear degenerative arthritis. The culprit are the facet joints in the cervical spine, which are the thumbnail size joints on each level of the neck going up and down from the skull all the way down to the sacrum.
This typically causes neck pain that may radiate out into the shoulders or also cause significant headaches most commonly being tension headaches.
There have been numerous studies looking at performing surgery for arthritis due to the facet joints which is called facet syndrome. The surgeries have shown terrible outcomes, and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary such as if a trauma occurred and there is a fracture present.
So the best treatments for facet related pain are nonoperative and consist of physical therapy, chiropractor Phoenix treatment, spinal decompression therapy, medications or injections.
There are a few different types of injections into the facet joints of the neck. The first type is an injection directly into the facet joints and this is no different in theory than a knee joint injection. You have cartilage in his joints just like the knee, that is the generating, and the steroid injection can provide symptomatic pain relief for weeks to months.
It is vital that the Arizona pain center where the cervical facet injections are being done uses fluoroscopic guidance for this, which is a real-time form of x-ray. These joints can be very difficult to get into, and doing them blindly is not the standard of care.
The facet injections typically provide relief anywhere from weeks to months, and a high percentage of the time they do work well. If they wear off after a few months they can be repeated, or the patient may end up going on to a radiofrequency ablation procedure.
An RFA procedure may provide pain relief for anywhere from six months to two years. The RFA procedure burns the tiny little nerve endings supplying sensation to the arthritic joints, and then it may be repeated when the pain returns as this tiny little nerve endings often grow back.
Facet joint injections are one of the best nonoperative procedures in existence today for next name, as once again surgery should be avoided for axial neck pain at all circumstances.
If you have neck pain and would like some help, call Arizona pain today at (602) 507-6550. The center has multiple AZ pain center locations, and takes many insurances such as BCBS, AETNA, Humana, Cigna, Medicare, AHCCCS, Mercy Care, APIPA, United, and many more.