Rochester, MN Personal Injury Attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg
You were in an accident. Your body whiplashed in your seat when tons of metal from another vehicle crashed into yours. Whiplash is in an injury to the back and neck with symptoms radiating into the head. Eventually the pain will make its way into your shoulders, hands and arms, and into your legs and your feet.
Every part of your body has been hurting since the crash, especially your back and your neck. The pain either hurts on the left side of your body or the right side of your body, but some days the pain is on both sides.
You have been waiting for the pain to subside, but that day has yet to come. Some days the pain is bearable, but other days the pain is too much to bear. You try to make adjustments the best way you can, but the medications you have been taking do not always help to alleviate the pain.
You made adjustments to your life, but you cannot continue avoiding making certain movements or doing certain activities. You have made appointments with multiple doctors, but no one has been able to tell you what the problem is. If no one can tell you what the actual problem is, how will they be able to fix your injuries?
What can you do if no doctor can tell you why you are in constant pain? Thankfully, there is something that can be done to help you get your life back.
Without the proper care, accident injury victims with permanent joint injuries will experience a significant amount of pain just by making simple motions, such as gritting your teeth. For many accident victims, the chronic pain will eventually become a part of their lives. The pain will always be there; waiting for one small movement to occur in order for pain to strike.
Neck and back injuries that occur after accidents(car, truck, boating, ATV, bus, etc.) will often produce long-lasting chronic pain that comes from one or more injuries to the facet joints of the spine. When a list of treatments has been exhausted or if everything else fails, there is a procedure known as Radiofrequency Neurotomy(RFN).
Radiofrequency neurotomy is a treatment that is used to alleviate pain from a facet joint of the spine from the injury to the joint, and this usually takes place after an accident. Each vertebra has two different sets of facet joints. One pair faces upwards and the other faces downward. Every joint will be connected to two medial nerves. The nerves transmit signals from the spine to the brain and the rest of the body.
Facet joint injuries have been known as the cause of chronic back pain and neck pain in over 50 percent of the cases where the pain occurs after a distressing event such as an auto accident. The RFN procedure uses a radiofrequency wave to add heat to the medial branch nerve. What happens after the medial branch nerve is heated? The medial branch nerve will no longer transmit pain messages to your brain.
Diagnosing Facet Joint Injuries
Radiofrequency Neurotomy(RFN) is a serious procedure. This is why it is so important to have a clear understanding of which facet joints are inflicting pain. When there is an understanding of what is causing the pain and why the pain is occurring, you will know if the RFN procedure will provide the level of relief you need. It is important to know that some insurance companies will not pay for you to have the RFN procedure if you do not undergo the proper thorough testing.
Diagnosing facet joint injuries will generally start with pain mapping. According to several scientists, there are many pain patterns that have an association with facet joints. If the main source of your pain is in your head, the doctor will be able to identify the facet joints that are associated with the head pain. After the facet joint has been identified, the joint will be tested.
Before the RFN procedure begins, the injured person will generally have an MRI on the neck or the back or a spinal facet injection. An MRI or a spinal facet injection can be used to determine where the pain is coming from. If you have a positive response to the MRI or injections, the doctor will have a clear indication of where the RFN needs to be performed.
Undergoing the Procedure
Once the facet joint injury has been correctly diagnosed, the doctor who will perform the RFN will perform the procedure under an anesthetic. The doctor who will perform the procedure will generally be a radiologist. An electrode will be inserted into the joint area, corresponding to and against the nerve that is being targeted. Lesions will be created in the nerve after the electrode reaches over 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
After undergoing the RFN procedure, patients will have to undergo a period of at least one or two weeks of post-operative pain. However, the pain will eventually subside and you will experience a relief of pain for the first time in a while.
RFN Procedure and Minnesota Law
Minnesota is a no-fault state. What does this mean? This means that people who are injured in auto accidents will be able to receive some medical treatments, some wage loss, and some replacement expenses regardless who was at fault. Under the laws in Minnesota, personal injury lawyers will have to convince an insurance company that they will need to pay for the first RFN procedure, and any other RFN procedures that will be needed afterwards.
There will be many tactics that an insurance company will use to prevent accident victims from being compensated for the procedures. To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after an accident, you will need to make sure your personal injury lawyer knows how to handle RFN cases. In order to be properly represented, your personal injury lawyer will need to have knowledge of recent medical research and knowledge of how to present evidence in how to respond defense motions.
To speak to a Minnesota personal injury lawyer about your questions and concerns about Radiofrequency Neurotomy(RFN), please do not hesitate to contact Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers today.