Whiplash is a condition commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents. It is caused by violent jolting of the neck in situations where the body is subject to rapid acceleration and/or deceleration. This might occur in a car accident, most often when one car is hit from behind by another. It is also associated with sports and recreational activities such as skiing or riding roller-coasters. Another possible cause is assault, i.e. being punched, kicked, or violently shaken. Whiplash-related injuries are associated with a significant economic and healthcare burden.
Another option in more long-term pain relief is epidural nerve injections. Epidural injections, or “blocks” deliver pain-blocking compounds (local anesthetics and/or anti-inflammatory steroids) directly to the spinal nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain. These can be applied to the nerves controlling the facet joints (the medial branch nerves) or to the occipital nerves, and relieve both joint pain and headache if present. These injections achieve effective pain relief, lasting from weeks to months between repeat procedures. The risks of epidural injections are mainly related to side effects of the drugs injected. Steroids can cause arthritis, reduced immune system strength, and weight gain. Anesthetics can cause numbness, nerve damage, and headache after injection.
If pain associated with whiplash appears to be intractable, another slightly more invasive option is available. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a technique that uses thin probes and imaging technology such as MRI to locate specifics parts (known as fibers) of spinal nerves that control pain signaling. The probe then delivers an electrothermal pulse to these fibers that destroys them. RFA is effective in whiplash treatment and can be applied to main spinal nerves as well as medial branch nerves in cases where joints are the source of chronic pain. The risks associated with this procedure are infections and bleeding at the probe insertion site. Ablation may also cause inadvertent loss of sensation or movement.
We are constantly advancing our knowledge in the newest technologies and therapies in Interventional Pain Management necessary to treat the most challenging pain conditions.
We offer state of the art Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy. Our goal is to help you relieve pain, shorten recovery time, and regain full functionality. If you are looking for a physical therapist, our staff will customize a recovery program that is tailored to your need.
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