I have been going to the same pain center through a nearby hospital for over 5 years. I have had two different doctors, only because the first one left. I have had 5 ESI's and facet blocks (cervical), 1 medial branch block, and 1 rhizotomy/ radio frequency ablation/denervation in March 2008. I got great relief from the top 3 levels that were done, but not the lower, fourth level. I ended up practically begging the doctor to repeat the procedure or even that lower level. I was put into the chronic pain program despite my tears and reservations. I must admit that the Fentanyl patch gave me great pain relief, but I knew that it was not going to "fix" me.
The reason I am writing this is to ENCOURAGE people to check into other pain centers and other pain doctors like you do for surgeons. I felt that I was at the doctor's mercy. I followed all the rules. I was never really questioned about breaking any rules of my pain contract, but I was treated like I wasn't trying hard enough. I seemed to get in trouble if I missed therapy, because my son was in the hospital ( ?????)I brought in written proof and family members to show that my son was in and out of the hospital over and over again. I was treated as if I was a disappointment. I was never given the option of trying the nerve burn again! (the rest of the staff was awesome though) It wasn't until my last visit when I brought my husband with me that I realized that I really wasn't being treated well. I thought maybe I was just too sensitive or something. My husband agreed that the visit was uncomfortable and unsupportive. It bordered unprofessional.
One night I vented in pool therapy to the kind people. One guy that I had talked with for months turned out to be a MIT professor with lumbar issues. He gave me the name of his doctor who offered right away to repeat the procedure. They even SEDATED me!!! Yahoo!! It was NOT barbaric!! All my fingers and toes are crossed, because all four levels are improved. I have been able to reduce my Fentanyl patch by 50% for the first time since October 2008!! I also don't need much break through meds. I pray that this will last. I know that this procedure is not for everyone. I also know that I was intimidated by my doctor and her coldness. I felt more depressed, because I couldn't please her. She didn't understand that my son's health problems were stressing me out majorly and setting my whole system off wack. I am so thankful that I tried the new doctor!!!!!! He agreed that stress contributes to pain and is not an excuse. He was glad that I was seeking the procedure and wanted to reduce medication. He gave me no guarantees, but he gave me the chance!! He listened, and he didn't write me off as "totally unfixable".
I am around 8 weeks out from my procedure and get to return slowly to pool therapy. I know one MIT professor who is getting a big hug!!
Don't be afraid to get more pain management opinions! It can't hurt.
Good Luck and Blessings to All !!