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Cephalalgia. 2004 Oct;24(10):821-30.

Radiofrequency denervation of facet joints C2-C6 in cervicogenic headache: a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study.

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Norwegian National Headache Centre, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Trondheim University Hospital.


Cervicogenic headache is still a controversial disease entity, and good and reliable treatment is lacking. In the present randomized, sham-controlled, patient- and evaluator-blinded study, 12 patients with a disabling, long-standing and treatment-resistant strictly unilateral cervicogenic headache were included. The diagnosis was based on purely clinical criteria. Six were randomized to receive radiofrequency neurotomy of facet joints C2-C6 ipsilateral to the pain, and six were randomized to sham treatment. Patients were followed for 2 years with diary registration of pain for 14-days periods after 1, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months, and also followed with algometry and neck mobility measurements at 3, 12 and 24 months. Side-effects were minor and short-lasting, and those patients who were treated with neurotomy were somewhat improved at 3 months, but later there were no marked differences between the groups. In conclusion, the procedure is probably not beneficial in cervicogenic headache.

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