Treated by Southern Pain and Spine Specialists - serving Matthews, Charlotte, and the surrounding areas
Cervical facet joints are integral components of the neck’s spine, serving crucial roles in neck stability and mobility. Located between adjacent cervical vertebrae (C1 to C7), these joints allow for various neck movements, such as bending, tilting, and rotating the head.
Neck pain can stem from a variety of sources and underlying conditions, including:
Cervical facet joints play a vital role in neck pain and are involved in several ways:
Understanding cervical facet joints’ role in neck pain is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In Charlotte, North Carolina, at Southern Pain and Spine Specialist, our experienced team specializes in assessing and addressing cervical facet joint-related concerns to enhance the quality of life for those experiencing neck pain.
Cervical facet joint syndrome, or cervical facet arthritis, manifests with persistent neck pain as its primary symptom, often characterized by a dull ache or sharp discomfort. This pain may radiate into the shoulders, upper back, or even the arms. Stiffness, reduced neck mobility, tenderness over the affected facet joint area, and occasional tension headaches at the base of the skull are common accompanying symptoms.
Diagnosing cervical facet joint syndrome requires a comprehensive approach starting with a thorough medical history review and physical examination. Imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may be used to visualize the cervical spine, and confirmatory diagnostic injections or nerve studies may be employed to pinpoint the source of pain.
Treatment for cervical facet joint syndrome focuses on pain relief and improved function through physical therapy, medication, and minimally invasive procedures like injections and radiofrequency ablation. Surgery is considered only when conservative options fail. At Southern Pain and Spine Specialist in Charlotte, North Carolina, we provide personalized care for cervical facet joint syndrome to enhance patients’ quality of life.
To begin, you lie on your stomach. You may be given medicine to relax you. We numb the skin and tissue of your neck. Next, we guide a tube called a “cannula” to your spine. A video x-ray device called a “fluoroscope” helps guide the tube to the medial branch nerves. These tiny nerves carry pain signals from your facet joints to your brain.
Now, we push an electrode through the cannula and down to these nerves. We test its position with a weak jolt of energy. If this recreates your pain, we know it’s in the right place. Then, we heat the nerves with radio waves. Heating them blocks their ability to carry pain signals. We may need to treat several nerves.
When it’s done, you get a small bandage on your skin. You’re watched in a recovery room for a brief time. Then, you can go home. You may feel sore, and you may still have neck pain. But you’ll gradually feel pain relief. This can take several weeks.
Benefits of cervical facet joint injections include targeted pain relief, improved mobility, and the potential to avoid surgery. However, risks may include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, or an allergic reaction to the injected substances, which are generally rare but should be discussed with a healthcare provider before the procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) involves using heat generated by radio waves to disrupt the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals from the cervical facet joints, providing relief that can last from six months to a year or longer.
Its effectiveness varies among individuals, but it often offers significant pain reduction and improved function in those with cervical facet joint syndrome.
Recovery time for cervical facet joint treatment is typically minimal, with many individuals resuming normal activities the same day.
The effects of treatment can vary, but they often provide relief for several months to a year or longer.
Cervical facet joint treatment can be combined with other therapies, such as physical therapy or medication, for a comprehensive approach to pain management.
Southern Pain and Spine Specialist is open for appointments and operates during the following hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturdays, specifically for scheduled appointments.
Contact us at 833-704-7246