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Radiofrequency Ablation lower lumbar

Hi, this Is my first post So please bear with me if I make a mistake.

I just had
Radiofrequency Ablation lower lumbar today.
I feel okay right now and it's been six hours Since I had the procedure done. I was wondering what to expect in the following weeks.


  • I had 2 rounds of RFA previously into L4/5/S1, about 8 months apart. After the first round I remember things got worse for a few days post procedure, as the local anethsetic begins to wear off and the nerves continue to die off. It was about 2 weeks post procedure before I begun to feel better and improved continually over several weeks. Unfortunately for me the first round only lasted around 6 months before I began to experience the symptoms again, as the killed off nerves eventually resurrect themselves. I hope you have more luck than I with this and get far greater long term benefit. Good luck, Nick
  • hi,I welcome u on this forum site ..this is a good solution point for health related issues......but i am sorry i cant give u any opinion as i dont have any experience of this problem....
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  • I've had five radio frequency ablations within the last two years. All of the tests prior to the ablations went well, caused pain relief but when it came down to the procedures themselves, except for the very first ablation, I didn't find much relief. The one that worked, I had relief for about three months.

    I did come across some complications with the last one I had but do not want to scare anyone. If you are having trouble a week out, send me a message and I will tell you what happened to me.

    Good Luck, I hope it works and you are able to find some relief.
  • fishermanffisherman Posts: 12
    edited 03/26/2013 - 1:15 PM
    I had 2 in the last 2 yrs. the pain was really bad for about 2 weeks after the procedure but i had relief for about 6 months. the problem
    is is that my nerves grew back so I was back to square 1. I will not do it again because of the pain I dealt with after
    procedure wasn't worth the temporary relief.
  • NamKittyNNamKitty Posts: 1
    edited 03/27/2013 - 7:56 AM
    I have just seen my dr today and he has also suggested Radiofrequency Ablation. I had a spinal fusion and a laminectomy L5/S1 in October 2011. I have had to stop my painkillers due to developing a stomach ulcer, I was taking Myprodol and am now at my longest at 2 weeks. Since I don't have that 'buffer' anymore my pain has increased and I am finding that by the end of the day my only relief is to go lie down. He has now put me on Celebrex which he hopes will give me some relief. I will be glad to see what others have experienced before I take this step as after my operation I had to learn to walk again due to complications and was off work for 3 months, I am a single mother of 3 and can't afford either financially or otherwise much time off work. I am a nurse by profession but being on the other side of the needle is pretty scary although I welcome honesty from any who have been through this before.
  • SpinSpinSugarSSpinSpinSugar Posts: 15
    edited 03/29/2013 - 3:46 AM
    Been living with low back pain for 14 years since I was 20.. Almost had ADR put in in 2001 (Charite). They told me back in 2001 that I would be a cripple in 2-3 years if I don't do a surgery, then in 2007 almost did (ProDisk) but chickened out. Then in 2011, local spine doc wanted 360 3 lever fusion. Knowing so much about operations and failures rates I just put up with this pain. Drugs helped a bit. I always kept super lean by riding my bike (over 6,000 miles / year climbing mountains) as that was the ONLY thing I could do. My legs go numb and back gets very sore and weak after being upright (walking, siting, standing) for longer than 1/2 hour. Then every month or two I would get nerve pinched at S1 putting me in bad for 2-3 days, not able to even turn side to side and peeing in a jar. Then slowly I would get up and force my self to go to work (office job). Had many epidural injections over the last 5 years but they only helped the leg and butt pain. Still had the back pain. Every year I would use up my 4 weeks vacation on being sick, all on my back and never went anywhere.

    But having most of my upper weight supported by bike's handle bars (custom made by me) I was always able to spin the legs and keep 3% bodyfat till I couldn't even do that. I have to believe that being 125lb male was the only reason I lasted this long with lumbar DDD (70 year old spine). With L4 disk only 2mm thick, L5 bulging 6mm and S1 bone on bone, my facets were just worn to nothing from all the pressure. Went to a new PM and he said most people treat the wrong thing by thinking it's a disk pain, where in fact disks have very tiny nerves running to them but it's the facet joints that are the most source of pain. I mean the pain in your back (not sciatica) Did some facet injections and first time in 14 years I was able to bend and twist and move more like a 30 year old rather than 70. But again, the shots would only last 1-2 months.

    So I had my nerves fried. Had mine done exactly a month ago on Feb28th. Three levels L4-S1, both sides. Best thing I ever did. Last two months I was walking shifted to the left more and more, which started to mess with my upper spine (T,C sections). I could no longer stand straight. Now I'm back on the bike, walking straight, hiking, splitting wood, cleaned my entire garage. I have projects for next 6 months. I go slow as I know my back is still a mess and I'm wearing it out even more but I don't feel it so who cares. I will pay for it later. It's just crazy how you get use to living in pain for years and when it's gone, it just don't seem real. I still get my leg and butt pain from the root nerves being compressed by worn disks but the 90% of the pain in my actual back is gone.

    Now the bad part. The test shots (novocain) before RFA were painful as I had all three levels, both sides and no sedation ( back felt good for about 3 hours). The actual RFA procedure wasn't bad. I was sedated most of the time and they would just bring me back to test the nerves before burning, making sure they were in the right spot with the electrode. Then knock me out for nerve frying and repeat 5 times for each facet So I felt some pain, but not as much as the injections 2 weeks before. I was sore for about 5 days. Just burning pain in the back and muscle weakness. Then about two weeks later I started to have some skin burning on the right side traveling all the way to the front near the belly button. The skin is very sensitive to the slightest touch causing crazy burning and wearing pants or underwear has been difficult. I apply menthol cream 4 times per day and just deal with it. Makes sleeping difficult but compare to the spine pain, it's NOTHING. I will take that any time over my old back pain that was just paralyzing at times. Hoping it will go away as it's just skin nerve damage from frying the facet nerves. I will definitely do it again. Love my life right now even with my a$$ on fire.
    I design your spine
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