A radiofrequency neurotomy is a type of injection procedure used to treat facet joint pain. Facet joints are pairs of small joints between the vertebrae in the back of the spine. The facet joints support the spine while also allowing motion in terms of bending, flexing and twisting. Each facet joint is connected to two small medial branch nerves that carry pain signals from the facet joints to the brain. A number of spinal conditions can lead to facet joint pain, such as osteoarthritis and spinal arthritis or stenosis, or from a trauma to the back, such as a car accident. Radiofrequency neurotomy treatment might be recommended to treat neck pain associated with whiplash. Radiofrequency neurotomy is usually done by doctors who specialize in treating pain. Radiofrequency Therapy is an outpatient procedure. The procedure usually takes about an hour. A special X-ray machine (fluoroscope) will help the doctor position the radiofrequency needles precisely so only the targeted nerve tissue will be affected. Numbing medication will be injected into your skin before the radiofrequency needles are inserted. You might notice some soreness in the area where the needles were inserted, but this usually goes away in a day or two. As with many spinal injection procedures, radiofrequency neurotomy works better for some patients than for others. It is often helpful in reducing a patient's pain enough to participate in a rehabilitation program.
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