It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


[COLOR=Indigo][FONT=Comic Sans MS]I have had this done. Not to worry. I guess it's considered an o/p "surgery". Really it's a lot [B]MORE[/B] like getting injections in your back and ALL of the literature you can find will tell you that there's NO recovery time (i.e. you should be back to work the next day). I would not go so far as to say that. I got mine done on a Wed. and had my PM doc write me a note to be off work Thurs/Fri (so it wouldn't count against my vaca/personal time--that was our policy). That way I had the weekend too. So it's variously call Radio Frequency Denervation/Ablation/Rhizotomy. Why so many names? You got me. I had 7 on one side and 5 one the other b/c of the extent of my degenerative disc disease. They just use local anesesthia (you have to be able to talk to them)and put in this really thin needle and the tip of it heats up and melts the myelin sheath off the nerve that goes to an area affected by a bulging/herniated disc or entrapped nerve root. They usually use IV Fentanyl for pain as it's somewhat more painful than the test procedure they do ahead of time--or so they say. Neither one struck me as particularly painful in contrast to what I go through every day. The minute I got up and walked away from where they had done the procedure--"Wha-lah--no pain in those areas!" OH! AND THERE'S NO NUMBNESS ON THE OUTSIDE. You wouldn't know you'd gotten the thing done--except that the pain is gone. I turned out NOT to need the time off either. I wasn't sore at all. I'd imagined a more grim procedure. Maybe if I had gone to work I would have regretted it. It would have been different than lounging around, drinking coffee and reading that's for sure! Unfortunately for me, I'm one of those "fast healers" so my myelin has regrown and my pain is back 5 months post-procedure. They say after you have it done a couple of times it becomes permanent. We can only hope.[/FONT][/COLOR]
[QUOTE=dangovt][COLOR=Indigo][FONT=Comic Sans MS]I have had this done. Not to worry. I guess it's considered an o/p "surgery". Really it's a lot [B]MORE[/B] like getting injections in your back and ALL of the literature you can find will tell you that there's NO recovery time (i.e. you should be back to work the next day). I would not go so far as to say that. I got mine done on a Wed. and had my PM doc write me a note to be off work Thurs/Fri (so it wouldn't count against my vaca/personal time--that was our policy). That way I had the weekend too. So it's variously call Radio Frequency Denervation/Ablation/Rhizotomy. Why so many names? You got me. I had 7 on one side and 5 one the other b/c of the extent of my degenerative disc disease. They just use local anesesthia (you have to be able to talk to them)and put in this really thin needle and the tip of it heats up and melts the myelin sheath off the nerve that goes to an area affected by a bulging/herniated disc or entrapped nerve root. They usually use IV Fentanyl for pain as it's somewhat more painful than the test procedure they do ahead of time--or so they say. Neither one struck me as particularly painful in contrast to what I go through every day. The minute I got up and walked away from where they had done the procedure--"Wha-lah--no pain in those areas!" OH! AND THERE'S NO NUMBNESS ON THE OUTSIDE. You wouldn't know you'd gotten the thing done--except that the pain is gone. I turned out NOT to need the time off either. I wasn't sore at all. I'd imagined a more grim procedure. Maybe if I had gone to work I would have regretted it. It would have been different than lounging around, drinking coffee and reading that's for sure! Unfortunately for me, I'm one of those "fast healers" so my myelin has regrown and my pain is back 5 months post-procedure. They say after you have it done a couple of times it becomes permanent. We can only hope.[/FONT][/COLOR][/QUOTE] :angel: thank you so VERY VERY MUCH for the input but maybe I didn't read what your injury was ?but I AM VERY THANKFUL that you shared your feelings /soul to me . my surgery "rfa" is on the 26th of this month .The injections I had WOW ..JUST thinking about that ..it gives me chills down the spine .I do hope we can REALLY become freinds .. I am also taking the ACTIQ LOLLYPOPS. .. ARE Fentanyl 1600 mcg . i had to have an extra thru the injections but as I sit here now .. 5 days after the injections . they are beginning to wear off.but come hell or high water bring the RF on . if I gone thru the terrible stabbing pain bring it on surgery wise please tell me all about your back injury
godbless .....tc
Hi Ellen,

Please don't feel ignored. I don't think it's intentional, but sometimes I think the board doesn't have as much traffic as others. I belong to other forums (not related to backs), that get much quicker response. It could be, also, that so many of us here are in pain, and can't always be on the computer (my case lately).

So....

I'll try to answer your question. This is how it was explained to me by my pain mgmt doc. I've had three facet blocks at three levels, and two radiofrequencies at three levels. A facet block is where the doctor will inject pain medication into one or more levels of the medial branch nerve that runs along your spine. Think of a tree....the medial branch is the trunk, and it has branches (nerves) that connect to each facet joint, I believe there are two nerves feeding into each facet. I had mine done at the L-4 and L-5 levels of facet joints in my lower back, three all together. You can get a block done with steroids or without. The blocks I had were used as a diagnostic tool in determining where the pain was coming from. If I had significant relief of pain to the areas targeted, then I was a candidate to get the rfa procedure done at those three levels. You must get the preliminary blocks in order to qualify for the rfa.

You can get the blocks with steroids which is then used for therapeutic and/or diagnostic purposes. The steroids reduce inflammation and the pain med just gives temporary relief. Blocks done w/o steroids and only numbing meds are not long term, only for diagnostic purposes.

So, relief depends on the individual. I got immediate relief with just the pain med which lasted several hours. I am not allowed to have steroid shots b/c they messed up my adrenal function, so I don't know how long of relief I would get otherwise. My blocks were done solely for the purpose of determining how they would proceed with my rfa procedure.

Now, for the rfa....I did not get any relief from the 1st attempt at three levels. Generally, it takes approx. 6-7 weeks to know if it worked. It takes that long for the brain to adjust to not having the pain signal from the treated area. I had the second one only 1 week ago, and I do have some measurable relief. Sometimes, it takes more than once b/c the doc may have missed the actual nerve that's causing the problem. They cannot see nerves on a flouroscopy, only the bony structures. They rely on testing the nerves by sending a shock (which you feel, and have to tell them) before actually burning the nerve. They also test to make sure they don't burn the main nerves that could damage functions such as walking, etc.

It was a bit painful for me to get the blocks and rfa's. I'm not great with pain to start with...some people have no pain at all. Just depends on the person.

I hope this helps.
[QUOTE]You know I woke up this morning in a lot of pain. I was very sad because I thought that it wasn't working but in reading the email posted by soaplady I understand now that it could be working still. That is a relief. I will hang on for another couple of weeks!![/QUOTE]

I hope things improve for you, and you won't need to do this a second time. My doc also told me approx. 60% have good success the first time, so that means 40% won't, and some out of the 40% will try again. I still have some post procedure pain (it's been 8 days), but it's much better than the first time around. It's possible to reduce your pain, maybe not completely eliminate it. They hope for at least 50% improvement. I think I have at least that amount compared to a couple of months ago. :)

Unfortunately, I have developed a terrible neck pain issue. It's almost 4 weeks, and it's still not letting up (I posted about this on another thread). It's become such a complicated issue. There is no doubt for me that once you have any kind of back/spine/joint problem, more follow. I've been dealing with chronic back pain since Oct. 2004 after a fall on my lower left side (SI joint). I feel like I finally got somewhere with my back, now I'm starting all over again.

I just found out my adrenal/dhea test came back with no improvement after 6 months, so now I know steroid shots to my neck is out of the question. I'm now on medication for dizziness, bad equilibrium that started slowly with the neck pain, and got progressively worse since the rfa last Friday. Haven't got the neck x-ray back yet (hopefully on Monday). I honestly do not expect them to show anything out of the ordinary. An MRI would be much better, if I can even get approval for one.

Complicated....are the adrenals finally starting to go downhill causing the dizziness, could it be the neck, or did the wrong nerve get nicked during the rfa?? I can relate to the post regarding the insurance problems.....mine has made my life miserable fighting for tests I need.

I hope to get more answers this week. My endocrinologist will be back in town, and perhaps out of the three doctors I see....something will get accomplished!
Hello, all... I'm brand new to the forum and just want to comment on RFA. I had this done nearly 2 1/2 years ago and am just now really starting to have significant pain return. I had many other procedures before getting to the RFA. The steroids injections would help for a very short while, if at all... then we moved on to the nerve blockers, not real sure about the medically correct name for that procedure. That helped to a degree... I was pain free for 2 months before symptoms retured. The doctors considered that a successful treatment. In between all this I had injections for siactica also.
I have a very limited tolerance, if not a full blown allergic reaction to most of the "good" pain meds so I have spent most of the last 10 years with nothing more than Soma and ibuprophen to deal with my pain, which has been mostly in my lower back. Now I have degeneration in my thoracic area that is worse than the lower back pain has ever been. This has been building up for years, of course, but only in the last year has become nearly unbearable at times. I have now also got to the point that degeneration in my hips is seriously affecting my daily life.
The pain involved with actually having the RFA procedure was really well worth it considering the relief it brought me. It was, what I considered, a lengthy procedure and I did lay there and cry :( but it was really not too bad. I did not have any added sedatives but they were offered when the nurse saw that I was crying :) There was no down time afterward and as others have said the full relief came over a period of time. I hope to have it repeated very soon. And to have it done on my upper back also.
I would rather not even have any more procedures on my back at all because I am a little concerned that there is always the possibility of something going wrong. But since I can't have any of the powerful pain meds I would need to see me through I will try it one more time. I also refuse to have any surgeries.





All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:10 AM.





© 2020 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!