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Radio Frequency Ablation

Nov 01, 2014 3:17 PM

Has anyone had any experience with this procedure? If you have did it work in relieving spinal pain? I was informed by my pain manager that there are "no risks" and it either works or does nothing. I am finding that hard to believe as all procedures have some type of risk, when I hear a medical professional say there are "No Risks" I feel it is either too new or they just want me to just do what they suggest. RFA is performed by "burning" the nerve that is signaling the pain to the brain. First the nerve has to be properly identified then radio-frequency is sent to stop the pain signal. The nerve isn't actually burned and the pain does return within 180 days. I am still in early stages of investigating this as an option.

I would like to hear from anyone that has any experience with this topic.

Nov 01, 2014 7:44 PM

I had a lumbar RF done last week on the right to 4 nerves. I will have another in 3 weeks on the left to 2 or 3 nerves. I have had a lot of pain in my back, but it is mainly from where my muscles lock up around the scoliosis. The oxycodone, Gabapentin, tramadol, and lidocaine patch don't help. Usually only my physical therapist can help ease it, but I was told I had to wait a week after the procedure. My sciatica is much better, more like a dull, tingly pain. But my legs are very weak when it is happening! I've been told this could last from 0-21 days. Everyone reacts differently, and it depends on how long it takes the nerves to die.

My Dr. Told me the RF could help for 0 months to 2-3 years. Based on my 2 facet blocks, he is looking at 3-6 months for me.

Before I had it, I spent way too much time on the Internet, and almost scared myself out of it. So far, I think I'm glad I did it. Whether or not I'm willing to do this every 6 months or so remains to be seen. It is still too early to judge, I guess. There is some research-based info out there, just wish there was more on a procedure performed so Often!

Nov 02, 2014 8:38 PM

had rf on my next nerves. was a success. lasted at least 8 years. I would have manageable pain after.

Nov 02, 2014 10:26 PM

I have had several which lessened the pain to some extent however, the last one was horrific!
I will never have another!
Pain increased and spread, wiped me out for six weeks.

Nov 03, 2014 2:01 AM

Thanks for all the input. I have not made a decision about it yet. For now I am pursuing more acupuncture treatment. The specialist that wants to do it seem a little too anxious about the procedure and I go to a "teaching" hospital to have it done.

Nov 03, 2014 4:01 AM

I seem to be over the residual pain from my RF LAST Tuesday. But the last 4 days were rough! My lower and middle back were agonizing, and my legs were bone-deep achy and very weak. I couldn't walk without hunching over and holding my back. Took more pain pills than ever, plus used the Lidoderm patch. But what I feel now makes it all worthwhile if I am on the downside and this is the only pain I have.

I tend to have little pain in the mornings, with it building throughout the day to being unable to walk normally or think straight due to pain and MEDS. Since I teach, I don't take all the MEDS I can until I am on my way home. I will let you know this afternoon how my day went. I'm hopeful for a less painful day!

Hope we are helping with our experiences.

Nov 03, 2014 5:18 PM

Fjhatch, I don't know if u are reading these updates, but if u are, I hope they help! 7 days out from RF: I had a great day at school! Minimal pain in my lower back. I took 0 pain pills and did not wear the Lidoderm patch. Had a faculty meeting, and got there early and sat down in a hard, wooden library chair. 2 minutes later, my lower back locked up on me. I tried walking and stretching, but it just got worse. Ended up taking an Oxycodone and put on a patch. I stood for about 50 minutes as sitting in those chairs is worse. My legs were weak and had some sciatic pain in my thighs. I go in 2 weeks to have the left side done. Maybe that will help. But the pain free day I had until the meeting was the first I've had so far this year!

Nov 04, 2014 12:47 AM

I'm glad it's working for you, congrats on a relatively good day in the scheme of things :)

Nov 05, 2014 1:33 AM

I've had two from two different doctors. The diagnostic injections did nothing. The ablation made it worse. I got with a new doc. He has done the diagnostic injections. For the first time in 4 years I had relief. Ablation in a couple weeks. The doctor makes a huge difference. Find the best in your state. Whatever it takes.

Nov 05, 2014 2:34 AM

Thanks JC, I am trying to catch up on all the posts since I joined. I am still planning on getting my Provider to send me to more holistic methods of treatments. Acupuncture, or massage therapy. I have had some relief and some is better than the really bad days. I just don't like the feeling of being drugged and having nerves "burned" every so many days. The Botox injections (30 shots around the cranial nerves) worked for migraines but they may have to increase the dosage after a period of time. Botox is given every 90 days as part of my pain management, the nerves grow back. I'm not sure of long term effects of injecting poison in the skull over long period of time. Just like so many, we do get to the point that we just want to have some Relief from Pain.

Nov 05, 2014 5:06 PM

I have heard some good things about acupuncture. It is on my list of things to try when nothing else seems to do the trick. My sciatica is almost nonexistent since I had some epidurals last spring and the facet blocks this fall. I get what I call "ghosty sciatica" when my back muscles are locked up tight and I am having to walk. I also get sciatic pain in my left thigh during soft tissue massage at P.T. There is one spot, the tightest, that just sets sharp, burning pain down my thigh. Hopefully the RF on the left side in 2 weeks will help. How does the Botox do? I've read about it for different issues I don't have. And you are right. It is amazing what we will do for relief.

Nov 05, 2014 9:01 PM

I started the Botox after a severe migraine attack in February 2014. I was informed that the injections would be given all around the cranial nerves and it would "kill" the nerve. However the nerves do regenerate in about 90 days. Then it would be necessary to get the injections repeated. I have heard it is used in other areas of the body also, I have not confirmed that. It is perhaps a little uncomfortable to get them but I am usually in so much pain I can hardly notice the needle injections which are many I think 30 injections. I was also informed I may need to increase the dose after a year or so. I had stop taking the Tramadol pills and Toradol injections for about 30 days prior.
When you start acupuncture you will find there is plenty of Internet info on the methods and info on reflexology.

Sep 22, 2015 2:09 PM

I have had 3 rounds of the of RFA around my degenerating spine - specifically where the failed surgery (stabilisation at L4-5) is...I like it a lot and while I'm waiting for the second round on left side, I can appreciate reduction of pain on right from procedure 2 weeks ago. I'd recommend it - not a miracle, and it can be weird for some other muscles (hips in my case) I'm hoping to keep going every 6 months. Best they can offer at my pain clinic and it means intake half as much morphine when it is working... Good luck!

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