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Thoracic ----RFA

jewelspetjjewelspet Posts: 51
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Has anyone on this site had RFA in this area?? Please reply. Thank you


  • Well I did & it was heck to get over but it has helped. I can now sit an extended time, sit in recliner with laptop for much longer without knife in back & stabbing pain. Still have a weird burning pain if I do too much but this is the only thing that has helped...
  • jewelspet,

    I am contemplating this seriously. I wish I could help you and I will write back if I do it. In the meantime, could I ask you a few questions?

    - why did you do RFA? was it a result of any disc herniations?
    - if you know the level, ie T 5-6 etc, what level(s) did you do?
    - did they do above +/or below the level of injury?
    - how long did it hurt after the procedure?

    You said it helped you but you still have burning pain and I take it that is only occasionally and only when you overdo it.

    My story is this: MVA rear-ended 2/10 with multiple leveled injuries. Cervical and lumbar have subsided some and responded some to conservative measures (now treated chemically). T9-10 was herniated and pressing the spinal cord causing nausea, gut pain, and wrap around rib pain (felt like a tennis ball in my back - extreme pain turning while lying down or twisting). I had an endoscopic discectomy for that disc 1/13/11. The nausea and gut pain are pretty much gone and the rib pain is different. It is more intense but it is not a complete belt around the ribs. The L side is more in front and R side is nearly complete from back to front. I still groan in my sleep. I take tramadol, savella (new type of cymbalta), lidoderm patches over the ribs, and gabapentin at night. No therapies now. My surgeon says 10% people fall in this category and need the ablation. I am concerned b/c what I read is that while thoracic ablation has the best results (compared with cervical and lumbar), no one can tell me that it really has helped them. I know patients do best if awake for the procedure and that it hurts like h*ll to do it. It may take 4 wks until one feels better and the relief can be 6-15 mos. He said it could break the pain cycle and I might fully be relieved. I am concerned too b/c this is a major nerve to the important organs underneath. Hmm...If you have time, could you please respond. I'd be so appreciative to hear your story. (I am female, 54,and a pediatric RN in a doctor's office - working reduced hrs).
  • Dear Homenet:
    I SO feel your pain! I am the orginal poster who asked the question if anyone had had RFA & also the 2nd poster who came back & replied - I was wanting to know - since I was about to do it.

    I'd been in pain for YRS in my thoracic area. Had got to the point I hurt every single day. By late evening & night time I dreaded going to bed because of the pain. I had to lie always on my back cause lying on 1 side cause more severe thoracic pain & the other side did also sometimes (but it hurt my rotator cuff) That left lying flat on my back - which sometimes felt like I was being stabbed in the back w/ a butcher knife. Lot's of nights I went to bed on a large ice pack to just try & numb the pain. I too - took Tramodol everyday, used the lidoderm patches. I'm still on the Gapapentin.

    When I started feeling the pain in the center of my back coming thru to my chest & at times feeling like it was cutting of my breathing - I felt I had no other choice. I already knew I just couldn't live rest of my life in this pain. . Sometimes I couldn't "use my arms" at ALL without having pain in the thoracic area. .

    I won't tell you the RFA wasn't painful - BUT I have been thru alot of uncomfortable things. This was not the worse. It doesn't last "that" long. My Dr. gave me some med. but whatever it was I felt I knew everything going on. I'll just say - If I can stand it - you can too. . You can stand "anything" long enough - too feel better in the long term. . Right??
    KEEP THAT THOUGHT IN YOUR MIND!!! Afterwards, the Nurse said "Now you WILL feel worse - before you will feel better" - I wasn't sure what that meant - Until the following week.... Lot's of Pain.... But this too shall pass. . It takes about 3 - 4 weeks to get over the procedure. . After about the 4th week - my pain starting letting up...ALOT.. then after about a month I started feeling MUCH better...better than I had felt. . SO, with the pain your in now - I know your willing to go thru another month's pain to be almost pain free!!!

    I had it done little over 6 months ago... My thoracic area has not bothered me in months (first time in yrs) UNLESS - I lift something heavy or bend & lift. .(I know I can not do this & don't) It takes me a few days to get over it by resting.
    We did go this past wkend with my granddaughters/camping & I got in a float w/my arms over it for a long time riding waves at a water park & my thoracic area is sore today. (IF I'd not had the RFA I'd never been able to even do that at all or probably not even go...)

    I have DDD, osteoarthritis, I've not been in a accident (except many yrs ago) - so it's mostly from DDD I guess. You can go to my profile & look & see what disc etc. I have wrong. I'm not sure where he went in --but to the left of the spine) I hope you have a good "Pain Specialist". I had good references. You being a RN - I'm sure you do too.

    I have pain in the lumbar alo at times - - but I tell everyone - they do not know pain until they have had it in the thoracic. . . I highly recommend the RFA. . My Dr. told me that "Nerve Blocks" to NOT do any good in the thoracic area & he did not even try doing one in that area on me. (He did do a nerve block in the lumbar area)

    I have no idea how long this RFA will last. I'm told it last different times for different people. . anywhere from 6 months to 2 yrs. . I will dread to have to have it done again - BUT I WILL!! IF you are in terrible thoracic pain & want your life back - - - by all means try the RFA..

    Where do you live?? Please let me know what you decide! Also, where can I find out more about the area's this nerve effects the other areas of the body inside the body. . I will try & get back with you on the exact area in went in & disc area... We just got in from a trip . . I really can't remember as this was in Dec... All I can tell you it was about my bra area. . Maybe T5-6 He might have gone 2 different places. He "tests" 1st. . the wk. before to see if I am a "candidate". . by putting a numbing medication in the area that I hurt. . "IF" I have ANY relief for any length of time that day - then he felt RFA would help. I had relief for awhile that day. (& a good nights sleep that night). ..
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