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    Old 12-28-2002, 07:28 AM   #1
    dmg's Avatar
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    Post facet joint injections/Radio frequency ablation

    Hi there,

    I know some of you have had facet joint injections and I am trying to gather information on radio freqency ablation which is what the pain clinic is recommending for my treatment following 2 sets of joint injections. The first set didn't do alot and the pain returned on day 3 maybe. The second set has given me relief for 5 days now (I can't believe it) I had 6 injections done both times.

    The dr. who referred me for the injections recommended 3 sets but the pain clinic dr. said if 2 sets work with some relief, he believes I should try the RFA procedure and burn the sensory nerves.

    I don't know anything about it and it sounds a little scary, burning sensory nerves???

    An MRI shows dengerative changes at facet joints L1-S1 so, it's all of the lumbar joints as well as the SI joints. I have disc disease and joint disease and had a lumbar fusion 3 years ago at L4/5, S1

    Any comments anyone? IS there any permanent numbness from the RFA?


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    Old 12-28-2002, 08:52 AM   #2
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    I just had my first set of facet blocks. I had one about a month ago then I just had one last Tues. The first time I had it, I had no pain. On Tues, I felt sorness for a few days. Didn't like that at all. However, it seems to be kicking in. In addition to facet blocks, I have epidural injections. They don't work to well. Sure hope the shots work.

    D. Davis
    D. Davis

    Old 12-28-2002, 10:55 AM   #3
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    Hi Diane,

    I know we have discussed this in great detail before, so I hope you don't mind me jumping in again this time.

    If you had five days of relief from the facet blocks, I really think the RFA will work for you, so way to go Diane [img][/img] Congratulations !

    It's about time you finally found some relief, you have got to be on cloud nine
    Your news, really made my day, I worry about you all of the time.

    It is so worth the pursuit of treatment, because one day, we will all find the relief we need, no matter how frustrated and beat up we get along the way !

    I had no problems with numbness, but as you know, in my case, I was worse after the treatment, because it just aggravated my other symptoms, that the RFA couldn't address.

    I was back to work in a couple of days, although the doc wanted me to stay out of work longer.
    The procedure itself, is similar to the IDET & Nucleoplasty, in some manner, but the recovery is in no way as long and difficult.

    If you haven't already, you can do a search on my post RFA recovery, and maybe the postings will give you an explanation of what I was feeling like afterwards.
    I'm sure they are nice and long, as you know how I love to ramble at times. (most of the time)

    Here is a quick explanation of the procedure:

    I hope the link helps somewhat.

    Good luck, and please keep me posted, I hope this is the magical cure for you, that I was so longing for.

    Have a super weekend,
    Baxter [img][/img]

    Old 12-28-2002, 01:40 PM   #4
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    Hi Baxter and thanks so much for your very kind reply! I did check out the site you listed and YUP! I was pretty familiar with most of the info except for the RFA procedure.

    I will call the pain clinic on Monday and see what they say.

    I am so thrilled that I got the best 5 days relief, and right before the holidays! I got the second set on Monday before Christmas and sailed through this week. I even cleaned out a whole bedroom!

    I don't feel quite as good today as I have the other days but it is SUCH an improvement, I hate to even mention it, guess we all want perfect!!!

    And, HOW are you doing? I know you have had a rough road too. I had a lumbar fusion almost 3 years ago and it was the toughest year ever, getting through all of the recovery. I always kept positive though and really worked hard at therapy, etc. I really thought once I was done with that year, it would all be over, but fate plays a little trick on some people!

    Keep me posted as to how you feel and how you are doing. I remember, the computer was my real buddy for alot of those recovery days!

    Take care and really, I thank you alot!


    Old 12-28-2002, 02:00 PM   #5
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    Hi Diane,

    For the first time in three weeks, I can finally say today, that I am doing very well. [img][/img]

    Like you mention, we all have those stinking ups & downs, but I can get through them now.

    This last three weeks, has been the hardest time of my life, I have had every problem, under the sun [img][/img]

    I still have a long road ahead, but I will survive.

    I can deal with the smaller problems I have had, (You have probably seen my lovely posts), if only I could reduce this damn swelling on my back. [img][/img]

    That part is really hindering my mobility, as well as my total recovery.

    I will be fine though, and I really know you will be too.
    The RFA sounds like just what you need, and if all else fails, Nucleoplasty is just behind door # 2 !!

    I will keep you in my prayers

    Please keep me posted as to when you are having the RFA.

    Have a super weekend, you deserve it, and don't over due it [img][/img]

    Take Care,
    Baxter [img][/img]

    Old 12-29-2002, 12:16 PM   #6
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    Hi Baxter,

    You know, I remember swelling after my surgery that lasted a good 6 weeks, lots of pull on pants in those weeks (but it makes your lower backside LOOK smaller, ha! ha!) and I liked that part!

    I am still amazed at how well those facet injections have put me in a better spot! This is the best I have felt in months. I don't like the idea of steriods in my body though! I really hate the thought, wondering what side effects that will have down the road?

    I will call the pain clinic tomorrow to check into the RFA procedure and then see when I might be able to schedule that. I would like to hold off as long as I can, it seems so scary to me still.

    Hope you had a better day! do you have help?

    Old 12-29-2002, 02:26 PM   #7
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    Hi Diane,

    I get that warm and fuzzy feeling, just hearing you say you are having relief from the facet blocks.

    I hated my life at one point, because I had so many of those blocks,(13 total, 6 were back to back facets) and felt that the pain would never go away.

    The doc always said, "lets just give it another try"
    It was always needles, and more needles, within such a short time frame.

    People always kid me and say my low back, looks like I'm a junkie, from all of the repeat blocks.
    They were all done on the left side, as well as the RFA, was all on the left side.
    My right side, feels as though I'm ten years old, never had a stinking problem with that side. Thank God.
    I felt like I was getting the run around from my doc, that is why I moved on to another doc and finally agreed to have the surgery.

    I have been living in sweat pants since the day I came home, I went out before the surgery, and purchased about 15 pairs, different colors and brands.
    I feel now. as though I will never wear another pair of jeans, as long as I live.

    Yes, the swelling makes my butt look, and at least, feel smaller, so that is a plus for sure

    You mentioned you had some swelling, was it as bad as I describe ? all contained in one area, the size of a small grapefruit ? Like a large wide lump, or was yours just the top over all, layer of the skin ?

    It was a big grapefruit at one point, I just don't think this is normal for me to not see anymore reduction in size, especially three weeks post op, and I've been using heat, as well as ice.
    They both feel good, the ice feels better though.

    I have plenty of help now, thank you for asking.
    I get around pretty well now, it's just the hematoma that is causing my pain, especially if I rub up against something, even the pillow [img][/img]

    The diflucan RX , didn't work so well on the yeast infection, which shocks me, because it usually works in a day so, I took it on Thursday afternoon. I guess I
    will have to add some OTC treatment if I'm not better tomorrow. I will speak to the pharmacist tomorrow.
    There is no way I am lying on an exam table, with this incision, so I will not be calling the OB/GYN just yet.

    I have read about all of the side effects of steroids, I am also worried about the long term use, my old doctor claims that there isn't enough steroids in each block to worry, but what about the amounts we have both been given total ?
    He told me not to worry about it, but I still do.

    One side effect I noticed, that he denied, was that I have a small mole on my neck, and another small one under my chin, every month I had the blocks, I had a piece of hair starting to grow from the moles, it was like I had male hormones or something.
    I am not a hairy person, and I never had hair grow there before, so I think he is full of S*** !!!!
    Then why now that the blocks have been completed, has the hair never grown back ??????

    I was also very moody and felt like pigging out, after all of the repeat blocks, he also denied that !

    I really think that you will do just fine, you will be surprised, that the procedure itself isn't so bad.
    The pain I had, was about the same as any type of epidural, that we have both had.
    The procedure just takes longer, and you can always ask for more pain meds if you need them, by I.V.
    I had four levels done, so maybe yours won't take as long.

    It was in no way, as painful as the four level discogram I had, so that is a very good thing !

    Yes, you will be sore for days, but before you know it, you won't even be able to tell you had it done, and poof, the pain will be gone for good [img][/img]

    I have a really good feeling about this procedure being the right one for you, you have done your home work to the best of your ability, for that , I give you an "A". You are now on the high honor roll, My Dear ! Congratulations ***********

    If you think of anything else, you know I am here for you.

    Have a super evening,
    Baxter [img][/img]

    [This message has been edited by BAXTER (edited 12-29-2002).]

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