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Spine Institute
Glendale Adventist Medical Center
1500 E. Chevy Chase Drive, Suite 401B
Glendale, CA 91206
Ph: (818) 863-4444

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Radiofrequency Acceptable Treatment for Chronic Whiplash Disorders

Posted on: 06/22/2006
Many treatment methods have been used to help patients with chronic pain for a whiplash associated disorder (WAD). Injections with steroids, BOTOX, or a numbing agent have not been very helpful. This study reports on the use of cervical radiofrequency neurotomy (CRFN).

CRFN is the use of heat generated by radio waves to interrupt nerve pathways and stop painful symptoms. All patients enrolled in the study had been in a car accident. They were all treated conservatively but still had pain at least six months after the injury.

Factors used to measure success of the CRFN treatment included cervical (neck) range of motion and cervical muscle strength. Patients were also asked to rate their own satisfaction with the results. Patients had a decrease in pain level and an increase in motion. The authors suggest that less pain meant a greater release of muscle tension freeing up joint motion.

Overall patients treated with CRFN for chronic neck pain after a whiplash injury had a positive trend of improvement over time. Patients were satisfied with the results because they had improved function. This study agrees with the results of other studies suggesting a benefit from CRFN for WAD.

Tamara Prushansky, MSc, et al. Cervical Radiofrequency Neurotomy in Patients with Chronic Whiplash: A Study of Multiple Outcome Measures. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. May 2006. Vol. 4. No. 5. Pp. 365-373.

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