Question:Two years ago I finally gave in and had my neck fused after 10 long years of pain, pain, and more pain. I'm certainly better but never without pain. Are there any new treatments out there now?
Answer:The treatment of chronic neck or back pain remains a challenge for patients and physicians alike. Treatment with prescription drugs remains the most relied upon option. But it's clear that less than a third of the patients treated this way get any real pain relief.
Radiofrequency used to heat up and destroy the offending nerve tissue hasn't been all that successful either. Studies just don't show the positive long-term benefits needed.
More recently, scientists are studying the effects of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF). Short-lasting pulses of electrical currents are delivered to the nerve. The current used is high enough voltage to reach the radiofrequency range but not high enough to destroy tissue.
Short-term results are promising but not refined enough to recommend for everyone. For now, pain management from a multidisciplinary approach remains the gold standard for this type of problem.
Learning to manage the symptoms while increasing activity and function are the main goals. A combined effort of physical therapy, behavioral counseling, drugs, and alternative medicine help many people while waiting for a better approach.Troels S. Jensen. Pulsed Radiofrequency: A Novel Treatment for Chronic Cervical Radicular Pain? [Editorial] In Pain. Vol. 127. No. 1-2. Pp. 3-4.
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