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  • Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

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    Old 05-26-2007, 08:46 PM   #1
    almostgolden
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    Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    I'm a 41 year old woman who's been suffering from daily back pain for 7 years straight.
    A pain management doctor has suggested I try a radiofrequency.
    I had the "diagnostic block" done last week....it was hard for me to tell how much it alleviated the back pain because I had a severe reaction to the IV needle they stuck in my arm (they insisted on putting it in even though I wasn't given any medicine "just in case of emergency"....the IV needle was an Level 8 pain the entire time it was in, I had major swelling, red welts on my arm, searing pain when I tried to extend the arm and weakness in the arm for days) so i couldn't really focus on the back.
    I'm scheduled for the 2nd diagnostic block (with another IV...they insist...great!) next week.
    I asked the head nurse how long I would have to take off work if I have the radio neurotomy done. She said "Only the day you have the procedure done. You should be able to go back to work the next day."
    I told her about reading on here that people seem to be in significant pain for quite a few days afterwards and she blew me off telling me not to pay attention to what's said on-line.
    I really don't feel they're being upfront or honest with me about what i'm in for.
    I'm a tv news reporter so my job involves alot of walking and being in a car for hours driving from story to story. I also am in the field so I won't have access to an ice pack or be able to lay down.
    I really need some HONEST answers from people who've had this done about how bad the pain is afterwards and how many days I shoule expect to be "laid up" and off work.
    Also, how painful is the actual procedure? (Again, the doctors office doesn't want to talk to me about that...all they'll say is that I'll be given some sedation but I will have to remain awake because I have to talk to the doctor about my "pain level" as the procedure is being done.). The diagnostic blocks were not too bad but I'm sure this is much worse...
    Finally, does it work at all? Right now, I have constant aching in my back that turns into pain (level 6 or 7) when I do activities like walk at the mall, walk my dog, sit for awhile, etc. Some days it's not too bad....others it's very bad. Sometimes the pain even keeps me from sleeping through the night. What kind of relief do you get from this procedure?
    I really have to make a decision whether to move forward with this or not...My greatest fear is that it will make me worse and I'll be more cripple than I am not or unable to work or something like that. I am truly scared to death.
    Any HONEST feedback would be greatly appreciated.

     
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    Old 05-26-2007, 09:26 PM   #2
    kera4
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    Hi! I have had the radiofrequency nerve burning done 3 times. For me, it lasts about 6-8 months. I have levels L3, L4 and L5 done on both sides, since I have arthritis in all those lumbar facet joints. The most important way you can predict if it will help you, is if you get pain relief from the diagnostic blocks. Even if the blocks only provide relief for a little while, that indicates to your doctor if the nerve burning will work.

    For me, I was having so much pain with sitting even for 10 minutes, pain with walking, etc. The nerve burning reduces my pain a lot, now I can sit 30 minutes with no pain (then I have to stand for a while). I am not getting pain walking around. It does not take the pain away completely. It stops you from feeling the joint pain, but when the joint gets overworked, you will feel the muscle pain. You have to learn not to overdo it. For instance, if I sit too long, my muscles will knot up really badly. It was definitely worth doing for me, though. It has brought my pain levels down, and my sitting/driving times up.

    The procedure itself is about 45 minutes under light sedation. The doctor will give you a numbing shot, then the needle/heat probe. He will ask you if you feel the muscle twitch, and then he will heat the nerve up for about 90 seconds. It is mildly painful (mostly the numbing shot), but with sedation not too bad. He will repeat this process for each level you have done. The first 2 days after the procedure I rested and iced a lot. After that, you can go about your daily routine, but I needed to take breaks and lay down. The nerves are raw for a couple weeks and it is easy to tweak them and cause painful muscle spasms. I would try and get 3-4 days off work if you can.

    This was my experience, but everybody's body responds differently. I have had shorter or longer recoveries for each of the 3 times I have had this done. Good luck, I will be thinking of you! Kera4

     
    Old 05-27-2007, 06:16 AM   #3
    clover60
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    I had this done and would not have it done again. I was given a mild sedation but have to say it did not help. It was the worst procedure I went thru.

    I did have pain for a couple of days but was able to go back to work the next day. I also did get some relief and was able to postpone surgery for about 6 months.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

     
    Old 05-27-2007, 07:06 AM   #4
    Jack24
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    Didn't help me either. This back pain thing has a lot of let's try stuff associated with it.

    An IV that is put in right should only hurt when they pierce the skin.

     
    Old 05-27-2007, 07:41 AM   #5
    Sage48
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    I had the radiofrequency done on 5/9...Dr. said increased pain for 2 to 4 days... the nerve block worked perfectly for me...killed the pain...BUT, with the radiofrequency...the procedure was wonderful..they gave me something and I was mostly unaware...remember a few things...but not much... WELL...the pain increased not for just the 2 to 4 days...when I called the Dr. 5 days later they told me 7 to 10 days...and then a week later they told me another 2 weeks for pain relief... I am taking 10/325 of oxycodone every 5 to 6 hrs.... I have had a couple of days where I thought things were calming down...but then they flared up again...especially after driving and walking a lot... Spent yesterday just hanging out...and resting in bed...gonna do the same today...just to see if I can calm the ache down.. I was diagnosed with facet arthrits/snyovis/hypertrophy... I also have several other little things wrong..like a lateral herniation touching a nerve, facet cyst, and some bulges etc. I was told they thought the pain was from the facets...hence the radiofrequency. I am being honest with you...but, my body reacts funky to stuff, and takes longer to heal. Other people say they have good results... The only way to see what will happen is have it done...hopefully, it will work for you... Keep us informed...would like to do comparison on this test...it probably is just my body...and don't want to scare you off.

    Leslie

     
    Old 05-28-2007, 04:58 AM   #6
    Sage48
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    Thought I'd let you know...that I am seeing some improvement, especially in the mornings..FINALLY. Guess the healing takes longer than anticipated, but I have noticed in the last few days, I am not hurting as much when I get up...and also, I seem to be sleeping a little better. Guess, our views of this are colored by what is happening during the healing...we expect almost instant results. Also, the past few days I have been resting more..doing less, I know that I allowed myself to be pushed into doing too much too soon..I should have just said...nope, staying in my chair for a few days..not dragging myself around/counting on the meds. to do more than expected. So my advice is...give yourself time to heal..listen to your body...and not your mind.

    Sage

     
    Old 05-28-2007, 10:47 AM   #7
    almostgolden
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    Thanks for the responses.
    Like I said my frustration is feeling like the doctor's office is not being upfront and honest with me about what to expect.
    They've given me 5mg of Valium to take before the 2nd diagnostic block to help me handle the IV (I always have a painful, severe physical reaction to them so it's hard for me to even put myself through it) so hopefully it will go better than the first one. I didn't find the actual diagnostic block too painful.
    My back pain has been flaring up for the past couple days...making it hard for me to even sleep...so I think I will go ahead with the radio neurotomy procedure. Like you all advise, I plan to have it done on a Wednesday or Thursday and then take the rest of the week off work to rest, especially since my job requires lots of running around. I'll just stay around the house and ice it for a few days and hopefully it won't be too bad.
    The possibility of less pain for several months is probably worth it.
    The doctor says hopefully if I have less pain, I'll be able to exercise and strengthen the muscles so even when it wears off it won't hurt as bad.
    We'll see....
    Good luck to all....I've had daily pain for 7 years and it is just awful---nice to know others are in the same boat!!!!

     
    Old 05-29-2007, 06:57 AM   #8
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    almostgolden...
    What is your diagnosis...just curious. Facet arthritis?? I do not regret having had the radiofrequency done..I have been resting more the last 3 or 4 days...and the back feels a bit better. Hopefully by next week I will have more improvement...guess if things have been angry for years, it may be too much to expect to have them calm down in a few days. I do wish you luck..and hope this works for you. If you have any other questions or need support, come on back and talk with us.

    Leslie

     
    Old 05-29-2007, 07:28 AM   #9
    ala3
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    Re: Radiofrequency-Need Honest Answers!

    Hi,
    I had radiofrequency done on my SI joints. It took me about a month to feel the results. It really helped. Now I am having the same procedure on my facets joints L1-2-3-4-5. First one side , two weeks later the other side.
    I hope that you will get some relief ,but be patient, it takes a while.
    Alex

     
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