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Keywords:

  • Pulsed Radiofrequency;
  • Radiofrequency;
  • Neuromatous Pain;
  • Scar Neuroma;
  • Myofascial Pain;
  • Trigger Point

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) current applied to nerve tissue to treat intractable pain has recently been proposed as a less neurodestructive alternative to continuous radiofrequency lesioning. Clinical reports using PRF have shown promise in the treatment of a variety of focal, neuropathic conditions. To date, scant data exist on the use of PRF to treat myofascial and neuromatous pain.

Methods.  All cases in which PRF was used to treat myofascial (trigger point) and neuromatous pain within our practice were evaluated retrospectively for technique, efficacy, and complications. Trigger points were defined as localized, extremely tender areas in skeletal muscle that contained palpable, taut bands of muscle.

Results.  Nine patients were treated over an 18-month period. All patients had longstanding myofascial or neuromatous pain that was refractory to previous medical management, physical therapy, and trigger point injections. Eight out of nine patients experienced 75–100% reduction in their pain following PRF treatment at initial evaluation 4 weeks following treatment. Six out of nine (67%) patients experienced 6 months to greater than 1 year of pain relief. One patient experienced no better relief in terms of degree of pain reduction or duration of benefit when compared with previous trigger point injections. No complications were noted.

Discussion.  Our review suggests that PRF could be a minimally invasive, less neurodestructive treatment modality for these painful conditions and that further systematic evaluation of this treatment approach is warranted.