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Update on my Radiofrequency Denervation of Lumber Facet

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:29 AM in Chronic Pain
Just thought i would let you know how i got on yesterday when i had Radiofrequency Denervation, well here i am 24 hours later my back feels sore and as if i have been used as a punch bag it hurt something awfull when i was having it done he kept asking do you feel tingling do you feel a dragging feeling i dont think i could have stood much more , when i started walking after i had been told i could go my legs were like jelly , i am walking around having a sit it gave me a lot of pain this afternoon on the left side where the scatic nerve is , they say it takes at least a wekk to 10 days to settle down , i am thinking to myself i wonder if i will be lucky and that i am almost pain free at the moment i would say no .
My surgon has said he wont be able to do this again as my back is in such a terrible state .
I didnt sleep that well last night either
Comments please
Margaret xxxx


  • Hi Margareta,
    Glad you made it through your RF, unfortunately it is common to hurt more after it's done. It could take up to 8 weeks for that to go away, so don't get too discouraged. Most folks have pretty good results. How many did you have done? I had 3 on my left side done in October.
  • Hi Jay
    I dont know how many he did spent a long time on the left side i felt 2 go in to the right side and by the time that was done i had had enough , i will find out in 2 weeks when i go to see him at the clinic
  • Hi all, I had radio-frequency ablation performed 2.5 weeks ago on L3, L4 and L5/S1 on the right side only. I am just now beginning to feel like I am getting some significant pain relief. Initially, I felt worse, then I felt the same amount of pain as before the procedure and now, finally, it seems like it may be taking hold. I had this procedure done to the right SI joint last year with good results so I have my fingers crossed. Best of luck to all of you who are in the same boat.
  • Could you describe in more detail what the procedure was like when you had it done on the SI joint? What were you symptoms prior to the procedure and how did they know you had a problem with the SI joint?
  • Margareta can't wait to hear when you're feelin' the benefits too!

    I have no experience with SI blocks so I can't really say much about that.

    I saw my doc on Wednesday, everything for me is on hold until I can get my pain back to its normal bad level, as opposed to excruciating. Right now I can't stand up because the pain spikes and the doc says it's due to muscle spasms. I'm on pretty hefty Valium & Norco dosing at the moment and about wonked out of my mind 24/7. So I don't think I'll be able to post more than the simplest sentences, like something a second grader might write.
  • Jay poor you i see my consultant on the 27th i am expecting to much at the moment i cant say other than i havent got the pain i used to have but then i had the injections a month ago then i had this done last Sunday i do hope you can get releif as we all know pain is one of the most horrid thing going no one should suffer should they.
    Take care Margaret
  • Jay- hope you feel better quickly. As least I hope you're feeling relaxed :-) As to the SI ablation question, the initial pain I had was localized in the SI joint but also radiated out to my hip, groin and right thigh. It was diagnosed by symptom report, as SI joint problems tend to not manifest themselves on scans. The diagnosis was confirmed by having an SI joint block. If that is successful then they proceed with the ablation. For me, the initial ablation was a lifesaver, as I was in severe pain. I had it repeated one year later with similar good results. It does not take away 100% of the pain but it makes it manageable. I still take Lyrica and a low dose of Oxycotin. Hope this info is helpful.
  • Did your SI pain keep you from being able to walk any distance (like a couple blocks)?

    Do you keep having the ablation over and over to control pain?

    Were your symptoms relieved by the SI joint block?

    Thanks for any information you can provide.
  • First off, Margareta, I hope you are coming along with your lumbar RFA recovery. I still have pain and I am almost 3 weeks out. The nerves feel all jangled-up. My PM doctor just gave me a low dose of Prednisone (5-10 mg) to take daily for 1-2 weeks to reduce the inflammation that he thinks is the result of the procedure and is causing the pain. This is really helping- just a tip for you.

    Gwennie, to answer your questions, yes. My initial SI joint pain kept me from walking even 2-3 blocks and this was KILLING me as I was an avid walker (3 miles per night to reduce stress). I cried nightly before my first procedure. The procedure had to be repeated about 10 months later. Now it has been 16 months since the repeat procedure and I am still doing ok. The block, which did contain cortisone for lasting relief, was good in my opinion for diagnostic purposes but only gave me about 2 weeks of decent pain control. For that reason, I did not consider repeat blocks as a form of treatment for me (some people just have repeat blocks- and this is ok if they give you months of relief, but you can only have 3 per year). I just had RFA to the lumber area because the teaching hospital I go to (Johns Hopkins) says that sometimes SI joint pain originates from farther up the spine, in the lumbar area. So I am still battling that SI joint pain with the lumbar RFA. They are trying to help me get off of Oxycotin. For you though, in summary, I would definitely have the RFA (radio-frequency ablation) to the SI joint area if they can confirm that your pain is coming from that area. A pain-management specialist should be able to do this based on your symptom report and a subsequent block. I just made sure that I had mine done at a top notch place. I live in MD and go to the Pain Treatment Center at Johns Hopkins.
  • Thanks for the information. I've had fusion at L4-5 and a year later, a foraminotomy at L5-S1 as well as tons of other treatments, both "conservative" and alternative...and I still have leg pain that keeps me from being able to walk or stand. I am fine and pain-free as long as I am sitting or lying down. My PM guy mentioned that he might want to try a SI block to see what it would show....as we've pretty well explored every other option and they're running out of ideas.
  • Thanks Lisa i will keep that in mind i am only a week so just have to wait for it to calm down
  • I just had my ablation done last Friday. The pain for me has only increased.I can't sit or stand for more than 15 to 20 minutes and then it's raly bad. The doc said this could last for 1 to 2 more weeks.After reading your posts looks like it could be longer.Had mine on both sides of the L5S1. Had surgery, blocks , injections, roids you name it I've done it, but this is a first. It started for me in my mid 20, I'm now 52 and on permanent disabilty.I'm praying this will work.But something just feels wrong. Networking with people like all of you has helped. Guess I just have to hang in there. See him again this thursday. Good luck to all of you and God bless. edna
  • I see Margareta had the procedure done about a year ago. Is there an update? Has the pain returned? I am scheduled for it later this month and am concerned with what to do when the pain returns in a year. Any comments?
  • Ann walshAAnn walsh Posts: 1
    edited 08/06/2013 - 8:58 AM
    I am not sure what to do as I am due to have this procedure, but I am having doubts. As it's the unknown??? At present I cope with working and have pain relief when needed. My right foot has been numb from 2008 since sciatica, but cope with it as I can walk etc. It just feels very cold especially in the winter. My back pain L4 and L5 I am coping with, and am scared thinking about this procedure, will I have more numbness????
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    A facet denervation is a burning of the nerve fibers contained within the facet joint. It is done when it is believed that the pain is stemming from that area of the spine. It should not cause numbness but rather pain relief for a period of time. Usually 6 months to a year. It can be repeated if the pain relief is significant enough to make it worthwhile. Discuss your concerns with your doctor, prior to the procedure so that he can answer any questions you may have.
    Best of luck to you,
  • KateyKKatey Posts: 1
    edited 07/13/2014 - 12:58 PM
    I had this procedure done just over two weeks ago and still feel no benefit from it, although still hopeful I will have a bit of improvement. Trying to stay positive x
  • When the RFA procedure is done, the pain can and often does flare up for a few days to a few weeks, then once the nerve fibers die off, the pain lessens. You are correct, it is still early in the process , to see what benefit the RFA may be for you.

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