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Anyone had radiofrequency ablation for L5 & SI joint problems?

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Old 05-17-2010, 05:31 AM   #1
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Anyone had radiofrequency ablation for L5 & SI joint problems?

Hello! If you have had this done, please let me know. Through my research, this seems to be my best chance for relief, I have neuropathic pain in my hips and feet. Steriod injections dont work for me. I know the nerves can grow back but no one knows how long the relief will last for sure. It could last for 6mths or 6 yrs. I need some relief soon, this has been going on since February. I spend most of my days laying on my stomach. If you have had this done, does it hurt? Thank you!

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Old 05-17-2010, 06:09 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone had radiofrequency ablation for L5 & SI joint problems?

I have had these done as I have sacraliliitis. I ahve found relief. Not total pain relief 24/7 but definite improvement. I was able to come down off some of my meds.
My first set lasted almost 9 months with a gradual return of the discomfort, not total pain return either

Old 05-17-2010, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone had radiofrequency ablation for L5 & SI joint problems?

I've had it done twice for SI pain and it certainly helped. Got about 10 months improvement from first session and I'm around the same point now and may get zapped again this summer although I'd like to hold off until the first of the year so the insurance deductible can be applied at the beginning of a plan year.

Before the first treatment I couldn't stand for more than a few minutes without extreme pain from feet up the legs and into my back. Walking was also less than fun especially if doing something like grocery shopping and trying to make it down each aisle I would often have to stop and find somewhere to sit down for several minutes before I could continue.

After the first RFA session, things were improved and I could walk and stand much easier and for longer periods. There was still some pain but it was a big help. Around the 9 or 10th month afterwards the problems with standing and general pain issues began to return although not to same level as before so I went for another session.

The actual session itself isn't all that fun but it doesn't take too long. My doc only does one side per visit and I would have just rather have had both sides done at the same time but oh well.

There really is no downside in trying it (minus the costs depending on your insurance). If the SI joint area isn't the source of your pain, the nerves will eventually regenerate so other than being sore for a day or two then that is about the only issue with at least trying the procedure.

Good luck.

Old 05-19-2010, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Anyone had radiofrequency ablation for L5 & SI joint problems?

I have had this done twice, both times were from S1-L5/S1. This procedure basically gave me my life back. It has been >1 year since my last procedure and I am hoping that I do not have to have it redone again. So far, so good. However, a couple of things to consider: 1) After the procedure, but not immediately after, the muscles at the sites of the needle insertions can spasm. This happened to me and I could not figure out how I could be doing worse, after things had improved. I am still taking 5 mg of Valium every morning as a muscle relaxant. 2) I also see a really good physical therapist. Not only to help w/the muscle spasms, but because when there is any type of SI joint dysfunction, the corresponding muscle groups get pulled in and this results in an entrenched pain syndrome. So, even if you get the nerve ablation done, you still may need some sort of treatment, 3) During the procedure, they automatically gave me sedation. It would have been difficult to do it w/o this. I have heard many folks on the board here report that they were not given this. Just some things to consider, based on my personal experience with this form of treatment. Hope this is helpful & best of luck to you

Last edited by CaliGirl; 05-19-2010 at 04:58 PM.

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