Radio Frequency Facet Neurotomy (RFN) treatments have proven to offer excellent relief for whiplash sufferers.
Research has identified that 60% of the time, damage to the facet joints from car accidents is causing chronic neck pain.
Involvement of the facet joints is ruled in or out with great accuracy. If ruled in, the odds the RFN treatment will provide relief is very high.
Researchers thought chronic whiplash pain was caused by damage to the “soft-tissues”. Soft-tissues are ligaments, tendons and muscle tissue in the neck.
The neck is flexed and extended beyond its normal range of motion during a collision. As a result, this causes microscopic tearing of the soft-tissues. The resulting scar tissue irritated nerves and caused other problems. Researchers began to question this. In a rear-end collision the most damage theoretically should have occurred in the anterior (front) of the neck. Although anterior neck complaints were not uncommon, they almost always disappeared. The posterior neck and base of the skull was where symptoms persisted.
A group of Australian doctors determined that the majority of the time, the symptoms came from the facet joints in the neck. Anesthetizing the nerve to the joint provided relief until the anesthesia wore off.
Around 1995, using high speed moving x-ray technology, Biomechanics Engineers confirmed that the facet joints jammed into each other.
The condition is accurately diagnosed and treated today. Anesthetic injections help diagnose the condition. Once confirmed, a small 2 mm burn is made in the nerve that serves the facet joint. The wire carrying the pain signal to the brain is cut. Nerve ends will usually regenerate and reconnect in 9-15 months, but the procedure can be repeated.