Efficacy of pulsed radiofrequency in controlling pain caused by spinal disorders: A narrative review

Seoyon Yang, Min Cheol Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) stimulation has been safely and effectively applied for controlling various types of pain. Here, we aimed to systematically review the literature pertaining to the efficacy of PRF stimulation for managing pain associated with spinal disorders. We conducted a PubMed search for papers published until August 20, 2019, that used PRF to treat pain resulting from spinal disorders. The following inclusion criteria were applied when selecting the articles: (I) patients' pain was caused by spinal disorders; (II) PRF stimulation was applied on the spinal structure; and (III) after PRF stimulation, follow-up evaluation was performed to assess the change in pain intensity. Review articles were excluded. The primary literature search yielded 168 relevant papers. After reading their titles and abstracts and evaluating their eligibility based on the full-text articles, we finally included 59 publications in this review. The therapeutic outcomes reported in the selected studies showed that PRF is an effective treatment for cervical and lumbar radicular pain. Similarly, PRF stimulation seems to be effective for treating cervical joint (cervical facet and atlantoaxial joints) pain and lumbar facet joint pain. PRF stimulation has also resulted in positive outcomes in some studies, in which patients were treated for other disorders, including cervicogenic headache, discogenic neck pain, thoracic facet joint pain, discogenic back pain, and coccydynia. Nevertheless, there is insufficient evidence for the efficacy of PRF stimulation in these disorders. In conclusion, our review provides insights into the degree of evidence available on the effectiveness of PRF stimulation for treating pain associated with each of the spinal disorders reviewed. This information will help clinicians make informed decisions on using PRF stimulation to treat various spinal conditions and manage the associated pain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3528-3536
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Annals of Palliative Medicine.


  • Cervicogenic headache
  • Coccydynia
  • Discogenic pain
  • Joint pain
  • Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF)
  • Radicular pain
  • Spinal disorder


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