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Radiofrequency ablations L2 thru L5

Hi My name is Jeannie

I was wondering if anyone has had a radiofrequency ablation. I had it done a week ago and I am in more pain now than I was before. All of the muscles in my back are going into spasms. I have constant pain in my lower back and right hip that goes down my leg. If I put any pressure on the injection sites I get what feels like a shocking sensation. I have been off work for almost a year. With it being a work related injury L&I decides when and if I can have treatment. I had to be in pain for 6 months and gone through Physical therapy before they would allow my Dr to do a medial nerve branch block. Which did work for a couple days. The procedure had to be repeated again before L&I would allow my Dr to do the radiofrequency ablation. I really thought the pain would have been a lot less by now.


  • Hi Jeannie, I've just joined the forums today, although have been an interested viewer for some time. I have had the same radio frequency ablations for L4 thru S1 twice in the last 13 months, and I recall feeling like yourself initially with the pain being different and more intense for around a week post the procedure but then it began to settle back down. I would say by the 3 rd week I was beginning to feel much improved, and underwent a return to work programme that lasted approximately 3 months starting from a couple of hours per day 2 days a week until a regular 5 day week regular hours was achieved. I did have a 2 month interruption post surgery though before I stated the return to work programme as I had to have my gall bladder removed!

    What I understand from the ablation is that the pain can initially increase and be different due to the nerves being disrupted and often nerves only being partially killed off and you feeling the pain as they continue to wither out. I also underestimated the impact to my normal use of my lower back that gets disrupted by this procedure short term.

    Sadly for me the ablation procedure did not ultimately last, with my pain returning after around 10 months, something I believe is considered normal as the nerves do recover over time and may reform in the same areas as before, but this apparently is not always the case. I wish you all the very best in your recovery and hope very much hat you begin to see marked improvements over the next few weeks,

  • Hi Nick, Thank you for writing back. I spoke with my Dr and he wants me to up my flexeril. Yuck the darn stuff makes me feel groggy the next day. I see him on Monday for a follow up and hopefully by than I will be feeling a little better. I originally hurt my back in April of last year. I do production work for a living and over the past couple of years there has been a lot of heavy lifting required (able to support 100 lb) that was not there when I first started 5 years ago.. It has been overwhemling dealing with this pain for a year now with no relief. Hopefully things will tutn around. Reading the posts on here gives me encouragement that things just might get better. I hope all is well for you. Thanks again
  • Kort JesterKKort Jester Posts: 18
    edited 02/28/2013 - 6:26 AM
    I have had 2 VERY successfull rounds of RFA treatments.
    They were 3 sets( bi lateral I belive is the term).
    They worked for me 100 % pain GONE not better not improved GONE.
    But beware they wear off...and it is crushing ..till you get your testing and re approved.
    I have DDD low back and facet joint pain....even the pain in my legs from the stenosis is better when the nerves are burned.

    I am lookign for somethign more permanant ..so I am researching an implant.

    Hang in there....It takes a good 4 to six weeks to feel the full effect for me.

    When it feels like a sunburn "on the inside" you are almost home..

    Let us know how it goes !
    Jester in Ja's court :)
  • I am going through the same exact thing now. I had RFA in my 4 lowest discs on 2/15, and had about a week's worth of relief. I am in complete and total agony this week though and I don't know what to do. I am going to consult with a neurosurgeon to see if there might be a better fix in my future.
  • I do not mean to play Dr. over the net. It may take a week for the "long acting anti whatever they use" to wear off from the "burn" in MY exp. So then pain right after the burn is pretty small.After a bit as it begins to heal( and you move more I bet) it goes NUTS. for a while then calms down to bliss in about 4 to 6 WEEKS!
    I can only speak for me..but PLEASE give youself time to HEAL inside.One week is no close to long enough!!!

    Remeber EACH burn ( at least in my case ) is the size of a dime ..but its a sphear.
    So when they do six spots ( as in my case) that is a lot of burnt area .

    My Dr. put it to me this way," If i did this to your outside you would be on you way to the hospital. Just becuase you can't see it does not mean we did not do any damage in there"

    Wishing you warm thoughs and cool breezes :)
    Jester in Ja's court :)
  • Jean2013JJean2013 Posts: 3
    edited 03/02/2013 - 4:17 PM
    I appreciate that you all have given your feed back. It helps me lstay positive that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been using heat pads that adhere to the skin and the heat feels wonderful.I am able to get out and wander around the yard. I still have pain but I am staying positive that it will get better. I won't be able to have the procedure repeated because it is a work related injury and Labor and Industries will only pay to have this done once. With no other medical insurance this has got to work. Take care everyone and again thanks for your feed back. :)
  • It is just a matter of how long.
    Just so you know the "fix" is not perm.

    Jester in Ja's court :)
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