Objectives: In the clinical management of facial pain, a possible cervical origin must be considered. A clinical exploration is therefore essential. The disorder originates in the intimate connections between the cranial portion of the spinal cord and the trigeminal system. Although solid evidence supporting the use of radiofrequency (RF) treatment is lacking, it remains one of the management options to be taken into account. The present study evaluates the efficacy of RF in application to cervicogenic headache.
Study design: We present three cases of severe facial pain arising from different cervical structures.
Results: In two cases the pain originated in cervical roots C2 and C3, while in the third patient the trigger point was located at the level of the atlantoaxial joint. Pulsed RF was applied for 4 minutes at the dorsal ganglion of C2 and C3 in the first two cases, and for 8 minutes at intraarticular level in the third patient. The pain gradually subsided during the first month in all cases. The first two patients reported 70% improvement after one month, 60% improvement after 6 months, and 30-50% after one year, versus baseline. The third patient reported complete pain resolution lasting approximately 5 months, after which the pain reappeared with the same intensity as before.
Conclusions: Radiofrequency is a satisfactory treatment option, affording adequate analgesia, though the effects are sometimes temporary.