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If you've had a "pre-RFA" injection - please tell me it worked!!!!???

Hi Guys/Gals

I'm due to have a DIAGNOSTIC injection this Wednesday - not the full RFA just yet - but if this helps with some of the chronic back pain I experience, then I think they'll probably do the full RFA much later on.

However, what I am concerned about is that I always have sedation before procedures like this as I get in a bit of a state, but I was told on Friday that the Aneasthetist does NOT give sedation for this diagnostic test.

Do you think it's because he wants me totally awake and able to answer any questions (although, in fact, normal sedation doses do not knock me out anyway, it just completely relaxes me, which I desperately need)? I would say it would be in THEIR interest too if I had sedation as, without it, I will probably try and jump off the table ha!

I had RFA many years ago, but it didn't work. What surprised me though was that I thought once the nerves had been 'burnt' they would never come back. This wasn't so unfortunately. I hate having these spinal injections (as I've had lots over the years and they seem to get more painful as I get older, even with sedation. I can't imagine how I'm going to cope without it.

I understand this one will only contain aneasthetic - not steroids. I have decided that I don't want steroid injections any more as I understand from the optician that the problems I'm now having with my eyes could be as a result of steroid 'deposits'. Mainly though, it's because only the first ever injection I had (8 years ago) gave me the best pain relief (for about 4 months) and, since then, each one has been less effective. A week after I had the last one in May this year only took the edge off the pain for about 3-5 days. I cannot find any proven long term side effects from having steroid injections.

Has anyone had a diagnostic anaesthetic injection into a spinal nerve before going on to have the full RFA? Was it painful without sedation? Did the first injection even work to markedly reduce your pain symptoms?

Any comments you have would be helpful, thank you.
2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!


  • Are these like foraminal injections? I had those in the sides of my neck prior to getting the actual epidural. I wasn't put out for either. The foraminal ones hurt but they did give me some medication that relaxed me during the procedure. But it wasn't that bad, I mean I didn't yell or anything LOL. But it pinches a bit longer than any other type of injection. They did irritate my nerve endings though so for a couple of days after my nerve pain issues were exacerbated. I don't know if that helps or not!
  • I have had facet joint injections with only local freezing and always take a mild sedative. They're uncomfortable for a moment. I will be going for my diagnostic facet injection also soon but the PM Dr. said he will give me light sedation and doing it under x-ray. He says I should get results within 6 hours and if not will not qualify for the RFA lumbar. Call and ask if you can take a mild sedative. This will be my first time after hundreds of injections and without sedation so will be a difference. I don't know why you can't have sedation as it takes a couple of hours for the injection to work? I hope the facet joint injection works and the RFA for you. Hugs. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had RFA on both right and left side of L3-S1 this past year. The first round is just Lidocaine in each facet joint and second round is the same and then they do the RFA. I didn't have any sedative on the first two but the third one I got a light sedative. You are in and out so fast and I didn't think it hurt that bad. My doctor talk to me the whole way through iit asking me question. The only one I had real painful was my S1 joint because that where my herniated disk is. The lidocaine take effect right away and then it wear off around 6 hours later. So ice and just relax that whole day and a couple days later. That when my pain go worse for me. I still in pain after all my injection are done. So now I'm with limitations with work and have chronic pain the rest of my life. So I hope this helps Peg
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