Whiplash Injuries can be Successfully Treated

Published on Apr 24, 2013 | by

Radio Frequency Facet Neurotomy (RFN)treatments have proven to offer excellent relief for whiplash sufferers.  Research has identified that about 60% of the time chronic neck pain from car accidents is being caused by damage to the facet joints.  In those cases the involvement of the facet joints can be ruled in or out with great accuracy.  If ruled in the odds the RFN treatment will provide relief is very high.

It was long believed that chronic whiplash pain was caused by damaged ligaments, tendons and muscle tissue in the neck. (The "soft-tissues") It was believed that during a collision the neck was flexed and extended beyond its normal range of motion and that this caused microscopic tearing of the soft-tissues and that resulting scar tissue irritated nerves and caused other problems.  Researchers began to question this because in a rear-end collision the most damage theoretically should have occurred in the anterior (front) of the neck.  Yet, although anterior neck complaints were not uncommon they almost always disappeared and the posterior neck and base of the skull was where symptoms persisted.  A group of Australian doctors, through much testing, finally determined that that vast majority of the time the symptoms were coming from the facet joints in the neck.  Anesthetizing the nerve to the joint provided relief until the anesthesia wore off.  Around 1995 biomechanical engineers, using very high speed moving x-ray technology confirmed that the facet joints were jamming into each other in whiplash accidents. 

Today the conditon can be accurately diagnosed and treated.  Anesthetic injections help diagnose the conditon and if confirmed a small 2 mm burn in the nerve that serves the facet joint is make.  In short, the wire that carries the pain signal to the brain is cut.  The nerve ends will usually regenerate and reconnect in 9-15 months but the procedure can be repeated.