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RF Ablation/Neurotomy- What to expect?

RobinRRRobinR Posts: 67
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:00 AM in Chronic Pain
I hope it's ok to post this topic here. I went to the spinal injections board and it looked like not many people posted there and I wanted to get some answers.

I'm scheduled to get the RF ablation on 4/13 for one side and then 4/27 for the other side. I'm getting three levels done on each side. I've already done the diagnostic medial branch blocks on each side, so my doc is confident that the RFA will help me.

I've done some reading on the procedure and what to expect afterward, but I'd really like to hear from people who've had it done. From what I've read, it seems that my pain will be a lot worse for several days to a week while the nerves are dying. Then I should start noticing pain relief within about 2 weeks after the nerves are dead.

So what are your experiences with this procedure?
How bad does the pain get afterward?
How soon did you start feeling better?
How long did the pain relief last?
Did you notice anything "bad" that happened associated with the procedure?
Would you do it again?

Thanks in advance! :H

If you have any questions about my situation, there's a thread on here that talks about all I've gone through recently that can be found here--> http://www.spine-health.com/forum/chronic-pain/md-decided-i-no-longer-need-pain-meds
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1

Comments

  • Procedure is not bad realy, Sore for maybe a day or 2 but sore is much beter then hurt hurt, If they get the rightt nerve it should help prety much right away,

    It only lasted maybe 2 weeks for me because the nerve damage pain kept coming back fast,

    But when i had it done before surgery it worked much beter actualy,

    In my opinion its less painfull then some of the injections i have had done,
    Some people are able to get it done just maybe once a year i was told, I just aint one of them,

    Good luck. Nothing to worry about,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I'm actually getting the sedation for these procedures. I've never gotten sedation for the injections and I usually curse and yell all the way through them. But for the burning of the nerves....umm...well...I just don't think I want to be awake for that.

    If I was, I imagine I'd scare everyone within a 5 mile radius with my screams! :))(

    My pain is pretty bad today after getting the 6 medial branch blocks yesterday. So you think the day after the RFA will be about the same?
  • Did the injection help enough to where you know he has the right nerve?

    If i remember correct the injection is to test to see he has the right level he will be doing the ablation on,

    So the injecrion beter help to make sure he doing the right 1 is the most important part,

    I say every time to the dr and the girls in the room close the door and turn the radio up cause i am going to scream like a litle girl while doing injecrion without any sedation,

    I think only one time it did hurt so bad i screamed and swore up and down before he was finaly done,

    I had a few rfa and it was diferent each time, When it helped it helped right away, but that might be because the medications he injects before geting started i think,

    When it wears off the pain will return for a litle while but should not be worse then when you went in usualy, It was just sore mostly and then things with the nerve stayed calm for about the 2 weeks for me,

    But 2 weeks releif is not enough is why i stoped having it done,

    Good luck, Hopefuly you be the lucky 1 where it gives releif for a year,or more,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Is your RF going to be in your neck or back?

    I had C2-3-4 done back in June, and am having a repeat on 2-27.

    With my previous one, the doctor used a light sedation so that I would be calm for the procedure, but it did not put me out and I was aware of everything going on. In fact, he wanted me to be able to feel and communicate with him.

    For each level, the numbing part was more painful than the actual burning. So the procedure was tolerable. I had an increase in some burning pain for a few days, but overall it wasn't too bad. Although I did have a spot that hurt for months when I touched it.

    The overall benefit from doing it was tremendous for me. It took my pain in that area from a 6-7 down to a 2. That is why I am repeating it on Monday. I do wish it had lasted longer. Hopefully this round will give me a year. Now if only there was something to take care of the rest of my pain!




    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hi Robin. Just some information from my son's experience: He has had several multi-level ablations done. He had significant increased pain after each for about a week. We panicked after the first one because we didn't know what to expect and were totally unprepared for the increased pain. Ended up in the emergency room several times in the middle of the night until his PM figured out the pain was due to muscle spasms which he said was quite common in younger patients because of the relative health and density of their muscles. Anyway, it took about a week for the pain to start subsiding gradually each time and it was totally gone in about 2 weeks. The good effects of the ablations lasts about 8 months for him. He says that they are totally worth it even with the increased pain and would repeat (and has several times). Also, as for being awake (since the doctor has to be able to communicate with you during the procedure - sounds awful, I know) - he doesn't remember that at all. It seems like the reaction to these ablations and the success rates vary considerably from individual to individual, so I have no idea if your experience will be similar to my son's at all. It could be totally different. But I wish you the best of luck. I hope you get some great relief!
  • Robin,

    I have had RF done for the past 6 years. It has been awesome for my Lumbar disc bulges and post-motor vehicle accidents (2) in the past 5 years. Prior to that it was the best procedure to get me pain free for 2-3 years up to mva.

    Injections were tolerated well - - for me I had sooo many years of chronic pain and when the temporary bi-lateral injections right & left and to discover what levels the source of pain was coming from; getting up and being free of pain completely was so awesome I cried and hugged the Pain Anesthetist Specialist Doc !! So injection pain I never cringed. Only took numbing agent and tolerated well.

    How bad does the pain get afterward?


    Different each time but on average a week and soreness leading up to that 4-5 days as anethetic numbing wore off.

    My first RF last 3 yrs total pain relief ! Prior I was walking like a 90 yr old prior to getting it done at times, stuck hunched over with pelvic tilt & hip out with it all stopped ! Only major mva's required repeat first time 3 yrs, then 1-1/2 yr apart twice - - L-2/3, L-4/5 discs bulges worse, then S-1/2 last injection


    Procedures 2 - 4 all the same went well as above.

    Yes, do whenever necessary 2-3 yrs usually....Absolutely, saving me from surgery & functioning well, bending over, some pain minor been 2 yrs now.

    Only have RF when pain returns to chronic 2-3 wks level, which has for me been because of mva's each time past 4 yrs

    Recommend not being sedated and being awake and just topical numbing agent - - actually only way my 2 spine anethetists drs. will do them - - & learn why (you need to be able to report during spine injection severe pain in order for him to know if he should abort injection = injury or trauma injections - - can happen = + go to someone who has been doing them for many years + a dept. in university versus a single small practice center solo dr owns = who may not have experience or being accountable. Many are in field not doing surgical setting with full staff = there is a small % with complications and you want to be with those who know what to do.

    Recommend you have them done by someone is also accredited with American Association of Pain Anesthetists and 2 other organizations, like surgeons accreditation, you get the safest and best injections by a highly experienced and highly trained.

    I had mine done at Washington Univ. St. Louis 5-star medical university and when I moved went to Emory Spine Center Emory Univ., Atlanta, GA.

  • Thanks for all ya'lls input! The kind of sedation I'm getting is the kind where I'll be semi-awake so I should be able to communicate with the doctors as they do the procedure. I understand the importance of this although I'd sorta like to be ASLEEP! :S Just the other day when they were doing the medial branch blocks, the doc stuck one of the needles in the wrong place and it shot severe pain down into my groin which I don't normally have, so yeah there's always the possibility of getting the needles into the wrong spot.

    I'm hoping that I'll have good results with the RFA. The first ESI I ever got several years ago held me for a little more than a year which was great. And when I had SI joint injections about 6 mths ago, those have worked well for me too. So I have noticed that when the injections are done properly and done in the correct spot, I do tend to get good relief. The medial branch blocks I've now gotten twice weren't meant to give me lasting pain relief, according to the doc...they were meant simply meant to be diagnostic to isolate the correct nerves. I did get good pain relief for a few hours afterward, so I am hopeful that the RFA will work for me.

    I'm also glad to hear that the pain afterward shouldn't be terrible....or at least more terrible than I'm already used to. I think I've gotten pretty good at dealing with really bad pain.
  • Hi Robin - I have nothing to add to this as I know nothing about it lol

    However I want to stay in touch with you and see how your doing so I am "signing up" to follow you - kind of like twitter or FB ;)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • PS: Robin I think this member had the same thing done you are having done. They have a lot of GOOD news to say about it.
    I found their link at: http://www.spine-health.com/forum/chronic-pain/some-good-news


    OOPS My Bad! I did not read down the next post after theirs & now I did & see you already hooked up. Oh well you know what they say about good intentions lol ;)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Robin,
    I had mine done yesterday, and just wanted to touch bases again. This first 24 hours has been difficult, but tonight things seem to be easing off. The procedure itself was painful, but nothing I couldn't breathe through. The doctor gave me fentanyl for sedation, and a 2nd dose really helped to keep me calm while he was working. He was working on me for about 45 minutes (3 levels) which is longer than I had remembered from the previous time. It is a good thing that time takes away our memories, because I didn't remember it being as painful as it was. Just ask for more sedation medicine if you can feel it too much. They want you to feel some, so that you can answer questions. You just need to be able to stay still, so don't be afraid to tell the doctor if he hasn't given you enough medicine. I got a big lecture about that and from now on I will speak up if it hurts too bad.

    My neck is quite sore, and my pain level is about the same as pre-RFA. But it is a different kind of pain that should subside soon.

    I wish you well with yours.

    Cindy
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hello :)

    Thank you, MsHumptyDumpty for posting a link to my good news. I definitely have a LOT of good things to say about the RFA procedure.

    Robin, sorry for the delay! I noticed you posted on that good news thread, but will reply here in your thread. (I wish I could get on the boards more often, but am usually very busy.)

    Here is my personal experience with the RFA, and what I have learned to expect in relation to the questions that you also have.
    So what are your experiences with this procedure?
    I have had very positive experiences. I have (well, had. He's moving practices, so I have to wait until he's re-established) a very good doctor, and I think that helps. He's understanding, so he takes his time. He'll give me an extra 30 seconds if I need to catch my breath or don't feel the lidocaine has taken affect. He'll also give more if I ask, perhaps I'm feeling extra sensitive that day (it happens!), or my pain is much worse in one side. You have to communicate with your doctor.
    How bad does the pain get afterward?
    I experienced very similar pain to what others noted above. It's great until the local wears off, then I'm quite sore. Soreness is the best word I can think of to relate my pain. I, oddly enough, have mostly felt zero pain the day after, sometimes 2. About the 3rd day, the pain returns but (for me) has never been worse than before the RFA.
    How soon did you start feeling better?
    Also, as noted, 2 to 3 weeks. I'm in my 3rd week now, and am actually in quite a bit of pain today. I think this is my SI joint, however. About the only "negative" thing is that I have pain in my SI and Lumbar. My doc won't do all levels at once, he said I couldn't handle it (I believe him). Sometimes the pain is so much worse at one level, I don't notice the other. When the RFA kicks in, the other level can grab my attention more. It's not that I was not in pain at the SI, but this lumbar RFA has lowered the lumbar pain enough that I now realize, "Oh damn, my SI hurts". Overall, however!, the pain is lower. Hopefully you just have pain the 3 levels they nuke. Then you'll be good to go!
    How long did the pain relief last?
    I used to be able to just about time this out at 9 months. Last time, my doc had a shiny new machine to show off. It hurt a bit more during the procedure, but seemed to have done a more complete burn. I was good for a year. I don't question alexhurting's 2 week statement, but I'm not sure that he had an RFA done? Or maybe the doctor didn't get the correct, or all, of the nerves? Peripheral nerves can't regenerate THAT fast. It differs by person, but the common numbers I hear are "6 to 12 months". Some *never* have pain again!
    Did you notice anything "bad" that happened associated with the procedure?
    I had some burning that started about 3 days after the RFA. I hadn't experienced this at all before, and I was worried. Called my doc and they said "oh yeah, that's common. It should go away in 2-3 weeks. You just got lucky in the past". So, there are some side effects you could experience. I won't list them all out haha, but there's plenty of info out there on them. Some are typical of any procedure. Keep in mind, this isn't surgery, but it's still a little invasive. My burning did go away in a week, and that's the only "bad" thing I've experienced.
    Would you do it again?
    Yes, absolutely. No question. No hesitation. For the rest of my life. (and I probably will :( ) But hey! It's a great 9 months while it lasts. It can be such a weird, foreign, odd, but profound sensation to not have pain. You'll know when it's coming back. It starts out slow, kind of sneaks up on you. At first the pain is kind of "muddy", hard to tell exactly where it's coming from. I know I only have another 2 or 3 weeks at that point before the pain is rearing it's ugly head, pointing that sharp stick in my back. If it takes 2-3 weeks to get an appointment with your doc, it's a good time to start scheduling appointments for the consult, then diagnostic again, then the RFA. I was told there is no limit to how many times this can be done.

    Some "pro tips": Definitely have someone drive you. I've felt nauseous, light headed, and have had my leg go completely numb for a while afterwards. I made the mistake of driving once.. oops! I made it home OK, luckily. If you're nervous, have your doc write a 'script for something to relax you before the RFA. ICE ICE BABY! Ice really helps after the RFA (and any injection really). Follow the directions they give you (no bath, no strenuous exercise, etc). Have some soft pillows to lay your back up against when you go to bed and throw an ice pack in between if you're still sore at bed time. Finally, don't sweat it! I'd be willing to lay down some hard-earned money that those tortuous multiple injections you went through are much worse than the RFA will be!

    good luck!
  • Thanks so much Certifried! I really appreciate you answering all my questions so completely. It makes me a little less nervous about doing this. I've had SO many injections and I thought those were bad, so having nerves "burned" was really freaking me out because I thought that's got to be a LOT worse than the injections!

    I started having a lot of SI pain after my fusion and my doc explained to me that it's pretty common. He said once that area in your spine is fused and non-movable, that it often causes the SI joints to become inflamed because they are now moving more than they used to. So I had the SI joints injected a few months ago and I was amazed at how much better they felt afterward. But because that area felt better, it allowed me to really isolate where my bad pain was coming from. And then the medial branch blocks I had done twice have further isolated the nerves that are very angry for some reason.

    One thing I've been wondering about though is if those nerves apparently aren't useful for anything but causing pain....and they can burn them....why can't they just take them out? I mean they take out nerves in your teeth via root canal, so I wonder why root canal isn't available for spinal nerves? I know that some of the spinal nerves obviously ARE needed for things like walking and peeing and pooping.

    But a lot of the other nerves seem to only be for transmitting pain impulses...so I say GET RID OF THEM! :D

    Why deal with them growing back?
  • I had to laugh when I read your post Robin ;)

    When I had sciatic pain SO bad I thought I wanted to die I asked my Dr why they could not cut it out. I was serious too! So I totally understand your question.

    I hope you gt to ask a Dr and share with us the answer :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • Well I think about stuff like that. :))( Once I even told my neurosurgeon that once spine transplants became available, I wanted to be at the top of the list! He laughed about that and told me that it would likely never happen.
    MsHumptyDumpty said:
    I had to laugh when I read your post Robin ;)

    When I had sciatic pain SO bad I thought I wanted to die I asked my Dr why they could not cut it out. I was serious too! So I totally understand your question.

    I hope you gt to ask a Dr and share with us the answer :)
  • Hi Robin, no problem! Happy to share my experiences with the RFA because it's been so great for me. Of course, we're each different so some people haven't had the luck I have. I'll hope and pray that you have the same success as me! I'm happy to answer any other questions, and look forward to hearing your results.

    A root canal fills in the hollow of the tooth (the pulp) where the nerve tissue, blood vessels and other stuff are. This kills the tooth. In an RFA, heat is applied to denervate (destroy the nerve) the medial branch nerves (for lumbar. Cervical nerves are either medial branch or third occipital nerve if it's the C2-C3 level). These medial branch nerves in the zygapophysial joint (facet joint) originate from the larger spinal nerve.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posterior_ramus_of_spinal_nerve

    This is about as deep as my knowledge goes, I start getting lost trying to figure anything more out. The sensory and motor nerves are really close, which is why the doc needs you conscious so when he stimulates the nerve he has the needle on, you can relay whether he's hitting the right sensory nerve, some other sensory nerve, or a motor nerve. If the doctor were to destroy a motor nerve, you'd have serious issues. Fortunately, they use imaging (flouroscopy, ultrasound, etc) so they can see, they stimulate the nerve before denervation, and your doctor also performed the diagnostics. Those are just short term anesthesia shots, so if a motor nerve is put to sleep by accident, you'll be fine in a few hours. It also tells them whether or not you'll likely get relief from the longer-term RFA, as you've already learned, or if you have some circus-freak anatomy like I do.

    My DR sometimes hits a nerve on the way in, it sends a horrible electrical shock down my leg and into my feet and toes. He claims it's not supposed to be there so I accused him of calling me a circus freak. We all have a good laugh about it but, unfortunately, he says he can't really perfectly control whether he hits it on the way in with the needle. Although it doesn't do any permanent damage, it sure as hell hurts! Don't worry about this LOL Unless you're a circus freak too ;)

    So there's just a lot going on in there with all those nerves. I guess today's technology doesn't allow for more without doing damage that would be permanent and severe. There's nothing to stop the peripheral nerves from growing back yet, either, that I'm aware of. Hopefully something like this is being developed, or considered. If it's even possible at all. I know they've had a lot of success with using RFA, or rhizotomy is the term, in treating spastic cerebral palsy. Same idea, different nerves with different results for a different ailment.
  • RobinR said:
    Well I think about stuff like that. :))( Once I even told my neurosurgeon that once spine transplants became available, I wanted to be at the top of the list! He laughed about that and told me that it would likely never happen.

    That's awful short-sighted, in my opinion. Has he never heard of stem-cells? We can grow ears!

    image
  • RFA is basically burning the nerve. I was offered it and after reading the side effect and the fact that in increases pain in many patients I said no way.

    It is medically unethical to remove or damage a healthy organ. RFA damages nerves. That's not very smart. IMO.
  • I see he's been banned already, but still wanted to thank him for the humor. I lol'd.
  • i had two RFA's... one five weeks ago, and the other two weeks ago. i'm still very swollen and still in alot of pain. is this normal?
  • I had L3, 4 and 5 done end of 2011. My experience is pretty much the same as Cindy's (Neck of Steel).

    I am feeling great! I obtained about 85% pain relief from this procedure and definitely would do it again! I suffered 24/7 for 3 years as no one would refer me in my state to an interventional spine medicine facility for pain management. I found a place out of state, thank goodness! I am thrilled with the results and hope it lasts for a while.

    Wishing the same kind of relief for you....

    Marianne
  • Marvin said:
    RFA is basically burning the nerve. I was offered it and after reading the side effect and the fact that in increases pain in many patients I said no way.

    It is medically unethical to remove or damage a healthy organ. RFA damages nerves. That's not very smart. IMO.
    LMAO....he needs to start a group called the "Ethical Treatment of Spinal Nerves."

    Cue animated spinal nerve protesting and carrying a sign that reads, "Spinal Nerves Need Love Too!"

    I know he's been banned already, but seriously dude, you need to get a grip. I'm a RN (who works in Quality/Risk Management) and I know all about medical ethics and trust me, RFAs on painful spinal nerves is NOT unethical.

    But thanks for the laugh! =))
  • I had the rf done 8 weeks ago,was in bad pain for 4-5 weeks. Iam still in pain, and they told me it probably didnt take. I HAVE SUFFERED neck pain & terrible headaches for 2 years now. we till dont really know what causing the pain.I have seen 14 doctors. I was just wondering what they do after the rf,since it didnt take.Any input would be appreciated. Thanks, Katlyn...
  • mooseysmom said:
    i had two RFA's... one five weeks ago, and the other two weeks ago. i'm still very swollen and still in alot of pain. is this normal?
    Are you still sore and swollen on the side that was done 5 weeks ago, or the one from 2 weeks ago?

    I was quite sore and swollen for several days after my RFA. I don't recall it lasting 2 weeks, so if it's a lot of pain or you're concerned about it, you should contact your doctor.
  • I had a facet joint rhizotomy a few years back. Not to sound ignorant, but is this basically whats being talked about on this particular thread ? If so, I could share my experience with that.

    I was not sedated for my procedure, as I had to be able tell the surgeon if he was at the right spot or not....oh, I could tell alright :)
  • From this definition I would say it is the same thing. I had mild sedation and even with that I could feel the "burn". I didn't want much sedtion, but my doctor insisted they give me more.



    Radiofrequency (RF) rhizotomy or neurotomy is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease and/or eliminate pain symptoms arising from degenerative facet joints within the spine. The procedure involves destroying the nerves that innervate the facet joints with highly localized heat generated with radiofrequency. By destroying these nerves, the communication link that signals pain from the spine to the brain can be broken. (from cradiology.com)


    Marianne
  • Yeah, sounds about like the same thing. Mine worked out pretty well, and the affects lasted a couple of years before the nerves grew back. During my procedure the nurse told the doctor....hey doc, I think we have a problem. My heart rate had dropped to 38 bpm, and that worried her. The doctor said....oh that ok, as he's a serious runner dude and that's normal for him :)

    I can't say the procedure was all that painful, but very uncomfortable and scary (looking at the huge needles / instruments)...but I do have a high tolerance of pain though.

    I guess I was sore for a few days afterward, and I was back running 3 days after my facet joint rhizotomy.

    The one thing I remember....before the procedure I couldn't bend over at all. After the procedure the doctor had me try and bend over....almost touched my toes (it made that big of a difference for me)

    This at least sounds similar to what Robin is having done, so if you have any questions ask away
  • Correction, after I thought about it. I could bike 3 days after the procedure, but had to wait a week to run again....didn't want to say something that wasn't right
  • Any updates, Miss Robin? How are you doing?
  • Been following your thread & hoping to see something soon from you regarding how the procedure went & how you're feeling now? I'm scheduled to have the medial branch block done on the 30th in preparation for my own RFA (mine is for SI pain so not sure if it's the same nerves they do for the lumbar region or not-hard to tell from looking at the link Certifried posted about the nerves...thank you for that btw!). I've had several injections & they tend to help for 2-3mos (only once did they not help for very long) so my PM Doc thinks this will work for me. He also said I'll be sedated (I always get sedation for my injections too...BIG needle baby here, lol). He uses propofol (which surprised me because my old Dr that I went to when I lived in Michigan used fentanyl & versed combo so that's what I thought they all used)...what a delightful surprise when I moved here to FL & found this Dr uses the good stuff so I don't ever remember anything! lol If he's had me in 'twilight' so that I can be responsive, I surely don't know about it...& that's the way I like it! ;-)

    I'm hopeful that the RFA will help me...I don't know how other peoples SI pain feels, but with me, it's like my whole pelvis "locks up" after I've walked just so far (which isn't very far!) & when I go to sit for a break, I have to move SO very slow because it hurts so bad. When going shopping, by the time I get to the car, it takes me FOREVER to be able to sit down into the seat & I have to literally lift up my legs with my hands & put them into the car; taking deep breaths the whole time. Once I've 'settled' into the seat for a minute then I'm finally able to drive home (my car is a stick shift so it's a good thing I live close to the store!)...then when I get home I have to pull myself up with the car door to get out & slowly walk straight to the couch or my bed to lay down for a bit leaving the bags of groceries for my son to carry because by that point, I'm just plain DONE. Does this sound familiar to anyone? (Sorry if it's confusing-it's the best way I can describe how it feels)

    I have to admit, I'm not 100% sure how long I've had the SI issues....it's absolutely possible that I've had that pain for awhile but just didn't notice it before the TLIF in Oct 2010 & now that the lumbar pain isn't AS bad as it was maybe that's why I'm just now noticing the SI joint pain? OR perhaps the fusion has caused the SI joint dysfunction (which I've been told is a possibility). Either way, I'm rather bummed because I thought after the fusion I'd be able to finish what was left of my RN & get back to working again & I'm finding that I'm no closer to that day than I was before! I knew I still had some issues with my back (including C2/3, C3/4, C4/5; L3/4 bulges & L4/5 herniation; osteoarthritis throughout; DDD; osteopenia in both hips...among other things) but sure didn't know I'd be adding SIJD to the mix! Can't very well be a nurse if I can't be on my feet for more than just a few mins at a time (OR when I still have to take strong pain meds!). So now I'm just trying to figure out ANY job I can do that would allow me to be able to stand/sit/walk at will-because as you ALL know, constantly having to change positions is a part of this life we lead! SO...I'm REALLY hoping this RFA will work so that I can get one step closer to being able to get OFF this darn disability & get my bored bum back to work! It's been 6yrs...I'm rather sick of being at home all the time!

    BTW...(sorry to get off track there-guess I needed to vent...even tho I hadn't planned on it! lol) but has anyone that's had the RFA done had it for SI pain, or did y'all get it done for neck/low back pain? I did look over the other threads that I saw about RFA & thus far I haven't seen where anyone has mentioned having it done for SI joints-tho I didn't read ALL the pages...just the first page of each, so I'll go back & read them all just in case I missed something.

    Again-Robin, hope you'll check in soon with how you're feeling so far after your RFA & keeping my fingers crossed that it was successful for ya!!!! :-)

    All the best,
    -Tanya
  • I've had SI RFAs done on both sides, the first one right before christmas, the second one after. Let me tell you, it has changed my life!!!!

    I can totally relate to what you described above in your pain. I would try to stand up from sitting down, and it would drop me to the floor. Standing for just a minute or two was pure agony. It would take about 10 minutes after sitting down for the searing pain to dull down to a not even acceptable level. My right side was worse, that's the side I had done first, and I've had hardly a problem since! Maybe if I've been standing or walking for a little too long, and overdone things, but that's it. The left side was really bad, but not as bad as my right side. The RFA helped, not as well as it did with the right side, but it did help considerably. I get the odd twinge here and there, but it's nothing compared to what it was! I've also had 4 cervical RFAs as well, 2 on each side, all worked well there too. I don't get sedation though, as at one point I was going for weekly trigger points and medial branch blocks, so injections don't bother me, lol. Sure, it's painful, I'm not going to lie, but that pain only lasts for a few seconds when they irritate the nerve to make sure they're in the right spot. I find practicing my breathing and relaxation exercises helps me get through it. I actually fell asleep a couple of times on the table and woke myself up snoring once, the doc and tech got a good chuckle out of that, guess that was a first for him, lol.

    I hope that your experience is as good as mine, I wish you luck! The relief that I've had from it has been simply amazing, and I'll be the first one in the line-up once the pain returns, as I'm sadly sure one day it will :( But I'm treasuring every second that it's not here!!! Now if only he can work the same magic with my lumbar, cervical, leg and knee pain... But as he says to me in his best Bones imitation "Dammit Kelly, I'm a pain doctor, not a miracle worker!" LOL What a guy...
    Kelly
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
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