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  • Radio Frequency Ablation for Facet Pain

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    Old 06-22-2007, 01:59 AM   #1
    lunchladyk's Avatar
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    Talking Radio Frequency Ablation for Facet Pain

    Hi I am new to this group but need your help. how is Radio Frequency Ablation done and does it Hurt. Does it require sedation of any kind. I have had umpteen shots and nerve blocks and back surgery so now this. I just want to know more about it.

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    Old 06-26-2007, 03:32 PM   #2
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation for Facet Pain

    Originally Posted by lunchladyk View Post
    Hi I am new to this group but need your help. how is Radio Frequency Ablation done and does it Hurt. Does it require sedation of any kind. I have had umpteen shots and nerve blocks and back surgery so now this. I just want to know more about it.

    I have a friend who had RFA done to her neck (C3-54) and she still has pain as bad as before.

    I go to a pain management doctor for my lower back. I have DDD (degenerative disc disease) L-4-L5, and L5-S1, chronic lumbosacral muscololigamentous strain, lumbar facet joint syndrome, depressive disorder with anxiety reaction, myofascial pain syndrome, DDD at the T9-T12 region, mild scoliosis, 2-3MM disc protrusion. I have had fluroscopy done on the lumbar region in 2003. That did not work. I have been going to a PM since that time that is really good. He is very responsive to my pain, is really open to my asking questions and to what I think I may need. If I need to go up on the meds he will do so within reason and if I have to go down he evens does that. If I have a problem with meds (like I did with Kadian-it made me feel like I would jump out of my skin) he gets me in right away.

    The past 6 months or so have really been difficult for me. The pain has been really bad (about an 8-9 on a 10 scale) most of the time and I was on 8mg of Dilaudid 4 times per day with Norco 10/325 for breakthrough and Soma 350mg for spasms. Like I said the Kadian make me feel like I was jumping out of my skin, so he placed me on Avinza 60mg. That didn't work that well so he went up on the Avinza to 90mg qd (1 per day). That along with the Norco is working alright at this point, but I still have pain throughout the day, so another adjustment is in order somewhere down the line. I try to give myself about 60 days to adjust to meds unless they just outright don't work.

    My PM did ask me about the RFA. He had told me long ago that it was really a shot in the dark type of procedure. Basically they are attempting to hit a nerve (which you can't see) with this wire that will burn it. Now maybe sometimes they do hit the nerve and it does burn, which is a good thing. However at some point down the road the nerve will regenerate and you will have to go through this all over again. I have been doing this too long to go through a procedure and then have to go through it all over again. My friend's neck area on the outside (her skin) is numb to the touch, but the pain she still gets from her neck down into her arms is with her everday. So for her it did not work. She also talked with several of the patients in the office she goes to and out of the 8 in the waiting room, 1 had success and the others had similar symptoms as she did, with the RFA not working at all.

    Do you homework and if you feel that it is a good procedure for you based on the symptoms that you are having, then by all means do what you feel you need to do. Just know that in PM and with any type of neck or back problems there are no "quick fixes", even though we wish there was.

    Oh how I wish there was.

    Old 06-28-2007, 08:52 PM   #3
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation for Facet Pain

    I have had several RF's done and if you have had a good reaction from facet nerve blocks then there is a good chance you will also have a good result from an RF. They usually try the nerve block first to see what your body's reaction will be. It does hurt a little more than a standard injection. I was always sedated for the procedure, i think the worst part is when they have to actually burn the nerve, it only lasts 10-30 seconds i believe but you can feel it. The whole procedure is to try and replicate the positive nerve block results for a longer period of time. I think it lasts like 3-6 months. If you are still in pain daily, it is probably worth a shot. That was my reasoning for trying it. Good luck.
    collapsed L5/S1
    both pars broken off at L5
    Nerve damage R/L
    L5-S1 fusion w/hardware
    L-4 herniated
    Dorsal column spinal stimulator
    Bi-Polar,Gen. Anxiety disorder

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