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Lumbar/sacral RFA recommended, what if it doesn't work?



  • Did they diagnose you with those things after doing a MRI? What levels are effected in your spine as they usually don't do a MRI for every single area from the sacrum, lumbar, thoracic and cervical...

    Do you have any actual severe herniations at the moment? What about other symptoms besides pain?

    And many of those, like the DDD is present in most people to some degree after the age of 25 as the natural aging process of our spine.

    Some people can have hardly anything wrong and have a lot of pain and others have severe herniations and not even know it...

    The key with treating anything spine related is to not just take narcotics and that's it...There are dozens of modalities to treat a patient.

    And yes, if you refuse to do anything except take narcotics then that is going to raise some major red flags with DRs. The key to treatment is to lower your pain and try anything and everything to do so.

    I have had 3, two-level fusions, on my cervical region and still have 3 active herniations. Two in the lumbar and one in the lower cervical/upper thoracic. As well as Spondy, stenosis, and DDD (which again..is a catch all term that doesn't mean much with "degenerative disc" it's really not a disease per say...just aging.

    The treatments I use are

    Daily exercise...45 minutes a day
    Daily yoga/stretching
    Aqua therapy
    TENS unit
    Neck brace

    As well as there are nerve pain medications that most people use for spine issues like Lyrica, Neurontin, or Cymbata.

    There are muscle relaxers like Flexeril, Robaxin or Skelaxin.

    There are also antidepressants that are used to help with pain as well.

    It's also very important to not smoke as this increases disc/spine issues.

    An opiate like Norco and others are just meant to dull the pain a bit...they are not meant for specific spine issues and if used are just one small piece of the puzzle. Not the only medication or treatment.

    There are many types of injections or procedures that can help people with spine issues like the RFA. You will find that some people have success with it and others may not but that shouldn't stop you from trying it as you can't say, "someone on the internet said it didnt' work so I'm not going to do it'...LOL

    We have to all find the best comprehensive program to help our spine...

    So...I have to say from just reading your post...you seem a bit too focused on the Norco and trying to worry about whether you will still get a prescription for this instead of just wanting to try anything and everything that will help lower your pain.

    Many people with spine issues actually have their issues die down or go away after a few months with treatments. Others may go on to need surgery.

    It's all relative and you need to just work with your Dr. when you get your insurance and do everything you can to help your spine.

    Hopefully you will be one of the 85% that sees great results with non surgical treatment to go forward without much pain...

    Good luck..

  • What are your plans for the future? If your Dr can treat your pain and make it go away, you won't need the Norco. If you keep taking it, it will stop working and you will need stronger pain meds. You do not want to line on Narcotic meds for the rest of your life.
    I have Ankolysing Spondylits, Ulcerative Colitis, DDD and a bit of OA to make things fun. Most of my problems are due to inflation of many joints, tendons and ligaments. I see a GP, a Rheumatologest, an orthopedic Dr and a wonderful PM.
  • kbrownkkbrown Posts: 1
    edited 02/13/2013 - 8:31 AM
    I had bilateral lumbar RFA 2 weeks ago, and I feel fantastic. I took 4 days off work. Iced my back "all" of the time even if I didn't need it during those 4 days. Did hardly anything but rest, and I feel great. Went back to work on day 5 and haven't felt this good in a long time. I still can not over do it though and can feel when I push myself a little too far. When I do I have to ice it down and relax and remind myself it was only 2 weeks ago. Good luck
  • I would suggest having a plan b & c in place in case you do not get the results you are looking for. I had injections, months of physical therapy, and etc. The RFA did nothing for me and made my pain worse. I don't think they burned the nerves enough. Instead of killing the pain sensation, I have itching sensation & pain. I was devastated. So, have another plan in place !!
  • natannnnatann Posts: 66
    edited 02/23/2013 - 3:54 AM
    I had it done in April and May of 2012. I did nothing for me but it didn't make me worse.
    When the nerves were dying it was a little uncomfortable but not too bad. I took a week off for each. they did 3 levels on the left side and then did the other side. Dr said he won't do it all at one time because it would be too painful.
    99/00 L4/5 & L5/S1 herniation
    2001 L5/S1 microdisectomy age 25
    severe DDD at surgery level
    2011 pars
    2012 RFA L/3/4/5
    7-02-13 L4/5 l5/S1 360 fusion ALIF PLIF
    DX spondylitis , DDD, scoliosis, and slight kyphosis
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