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RFA- pain diary post op

Krstdmb7KKrstdmb7 Posts: 20
edited 02/02/2015 - 9:12 AM in Lower Back Pain
I had RFA. This is my pain diary for the last 6 days. Starting to freak out and worry it was a mistake to have it done. Any and all feedback welcome.

Monday day 1- Pain in hip morning of procedure, got better as day went on.

Tuesday day 2- little to no pain, injection site sore 1-2 stiff muscles, small spasms.

Wednesday day 3- sore after running errands but felt much better after resting. Worst 3 best 0

Thursday day 4- pain is worse. Skin is still numb around butt check. Shooting pain down back of leg all the way to cafe. Pain is about a 3-4

Friday day 5- pain is worse. Shooting pain down leg into cafe. Stabbing pain in hip and butt check at random. Skin is tender to touch. 4-5

Saturday day 6 - spent most of day resting. Bad pain. Tingling sensation in skin, muscle spasms, stiff muscles. Random deep stabbing muscle pain. Pain gets worse as days goes on. Throbbing (heartbeat) pain deep inside, feels like it's right next to my spine. Feels like a lot of pressure next to my spine. Skin is very sensitive to the touch, almost raw feeling. Slight burning in groin. 5-6 pain level. Pain seems to be getting worse since Wednesday. I'm feeling drained from all the pain. I'm afraid it will keep my from sleeping well tonight. Will call doc tomorrow if it worsens.
Kristie H


  • Betty65BBetty65 FloridaPosts: 83
    Please let us know how you are doing. My PM doctor has suggested the RFA procedure and I am considering it but now I'm not sure.

    May I ask why you had the procedure done? I've got degenerative disk disease and arthritis in my left lumbar facet joints. Epidural injections have worked well but the relief doesn't last longer than 6 or 8 weeks. I'm wondering if the RFA will last longer or if it will just cause more pain.

    Hope you are better by the time you read this.
  • Krstdmb7KKrstdmb7 Posts: 20
    edited 04/04/2015 - 2:23 PM
    Well the pain and numbness did get better, I had fantastic results from it, eventually. My back did completely go out just over a week ago and it was the first time since the left side RFA I had felt any pain in that side of my back, leg, and hip. It was very painful but did get better slowly. I just went in this past Monday to have the right side done. 3 nerves were burned. I had this done because in 2001 I had a double lumbar fusion. L4 L5 S1 from Pars defect. I was only 18. Now I'm 32 with degenerative disc disease, moderate bulging discs both 2 levels above my fusion, moderate to severe central stenosis, arthritis in my facet joints above my fusion and a whole lot of pain. I was going to go to the Laser Spine Institute and have very minimal surgery to help all of these problems. But I found a PM doctor who told me about RFA. I am really really struggling this time after the right side RFA. A lot more pain this time. Really really bad muscle spasms, odd stabbing/tingling/burning pain and sensations in my back, butt cheek, and down my right leg. Plus a lot of skin sensitivity this time, more annoying than painful though . I was awkae during the entire procedure and able to communicate so I don't know why I'm struggling so bad this time. I'm just trying to get through the weekend and then if it's not a lot better I will be calling and seeing my doctor first thing Monday. How are you feeling? Did you ever get it done?
    Kristie H
  • Also I'm recovering from this procedure with only Tylenol and Motrin. It's been rough. I may be calling my PM doc to get something stronger on Monday. That will be one week post RFA so hopefully I won't need to.
    Kristie H
  • My RFA from L3-S1 on my left side works very well for only 4-5 months at a time. It's the only way I can sleep and do PT at age 30. I have had it done 4x already with positive results. My back muscles are definitely sore for a week but it gets better with ice and rest. I just don't know how long I can do these RFAs. Sometimes it's hit or miss when they burn the nerves. this is the only procedure that provides me relief. But I still have weakness and pain in my left hip/ buttock if I sit too long. In doing pilates PT now to strengthen as much as I can. Hopefully your next RFA will help.
    Aged 30; Neuroblastoma age 2 w/ laminectomies at L4 & L5
    Current dx: Radioculopathy, Stenosis, DDD severe L5 & moderate L4, Chronic left lumbar & hip pain

    Radiofrequency abalation every 4 months and pilates PT for pain relief+ too many pain meds :)
  • formerweightlifterfformerweightlifter Posts: 196
    edited 04/05/2015 - 4:03 PM
  • formerweightlifterfformerweightlifter Posts: 196
    edited 04/05/2015 - 4:05 PM
    i would not reccomend laser spine institute. they have a lot of malpractice claims, and everytime ive talked to them on the phone they are verrrrrrrrrrrrrry sales pitchy
  • i actually talked to them the other day. no way am i going to spend 23000 dollars since they dont take my plans.
  • I haven't heard anything bad about Laser spine. My Father had a back surgery there and had amazing results. I was to the point where I was scheduled and ready to fly down to have it until I heard about RFA. For all of the pain I'm going through now after the second side, it better work. I'm miserable. I don't know why my PM doctor let me try to go through this with only Tylenol and Motrin. If I'm not a lot better tomorrow I will be calling him. This is crazy and I can't take another day. My skin literally feels like someone peeled off the top layer, all down my lower rightside back and top of my buttocks. It is so sore that even my clothing rubbing up against it hurts. It's insnae!!! I had NOTHING like this last time I had RFA. Not even close!
    Kristie H
  • what procedure did your dad have at lsi?are they in your insurance? i would consider themif they were in my insurance, but they arent. there is a lot of bad info on them with malpractice if you look them up. there also is a thread about them on here. im not saying they are definitely bad, just some things to consider. to be hoenst, i would tend to think they were good based on the fact that everyone there is a fellowship trained spine surgeon if i recall and all they do are these procedures....tons of experience.
    but they were very sales pitchy on the phone. i even told them that i never had an esi and they still told me im a surgical candiate. not only that but to evaluate you, they charge 1000 bucks(basically if you agree to go through with the surgery that comes off of the 23k but if you quit out it is then a 1000 dollar consult charge).
    ive heard their follow up is poor too. most concerning though, is that the woman i spoke to said they have had no incidence of complications. idk how that is possible?
  • They accepted my insurance. It was going to be 1000 co pay still. My dad had RFA, discectomy, Laminotomy, and I believe his facet joints opens up more as well. They basically went in there and opened every thing up to make more space for the nerves and the healthly disc. RFA is Radiofrequency Ablation. It's where they put special needles into your back and "burn" medial branch nerves that exit the spinal column through the facet joints. They burn them to "stun" them so they can no longer transmit pain signals. The nerve can take upto 4 weeks to completely stop transmitting pain and will regenerate back to a healthy nerve in 6-12 months on average. At least that is my understanding based on research I've done. RFA is no joke though. I've had it twice and I'm still recovering from the second time. Today is day 7 post RFA and I'm still really struggling with the added pain of the procedure. My normal pain is getting better though.
    Kristie H
  • i know you have had a rough time with rfa, but what about diagnostic facet injections? are those ok?
  • The diagnostic facet injections aka nerve blocks are so easy. I had almost 100% pain decrease from those. It was amazing! I was a tiny bit sore from the nerve blocks at the site of injection but other than that it was nothing but a great 12-25 hours of little to no pain. My pain returned slowly over the next couple of days after as my nerves woke back up so we went full steam ahead and I had the first aide done of RFA about 2 weeks later. My PM doctor used sedation for the nerve blocks and did 6 at one time. I was completely comfortable during the injections and really optimistic going into RFA. I did finally break down and call my doctor about the amount of pain I am having this time round and though I wasn't able to speak with him because he is on vacation I did speak with a nurse and she reassured me that I was having extreme sensitivity from the procedure and that I shouldn't worry. Which was good. What are your thoughts about RFA? Has your doctor mentioned it as a viable option for your pain?
    Kristie H
  • The diagnostic nerve blocks are easy. I was sedated during the injections and had amazing results from them. I had 6 injections, 3 on either side. My pain was almost completely gone. It was amazing. I could stand, sit, and walk for long periods of time without any of the debilitating pain that I normally get in my lower back, hips, thighs, and groin. It was a solid 12 hours before I started having any of my normal pain return and it took about 2-3 days until my normal pain returned completely. It was a great couple of days. I kept finding myself saying that first day "I can't believe I'm not in pain." It was so wonderful!
    Kristie H
  • Krstdmb7KKrstdmb7 Posts: 20
    edited 04/06/2015 - 7:17 PM
  • Sorry about the above. It wasn't showing up like t normally does. Lol
    Kristie H
  • Here is my pain diary with the RFA I had on my right side. Very different experience than my left side.

    Monday, March 30th Right side RFA day- 3 nerves burned lower right side lumbar. everything went well today other than anaphylaxis reaction to a medication given for sedation during procedure. Allergic reaction treated with 2 injection of Benadryl into my IV and one injection of epinephrine into my abdomin. All meds were the same as used before. No idea what caused the reaction. No pain at all, I'm completely numb.

    Tuesday- muscle tenderness at injection site but mostly still numb and little to no pain. Pain 0-1

    Wednesday - mostly still numb. Minimal muscle spasms and stiffness in back. Deep throbbing pain when I bend or move too fast. Still very minimal pain. Pain 1-2

    Thursday- fluctuation in pain. Muscle spasms, stiff muscles, random shooting pain down right side of back, hip, and thigh. Skin is also starting to feel like tingling and slight hypersensitivity on right side lower back and top of right buttocks. Average pain 3-4

    Friday- more pain same as Thursday just worse. Lots of muscle spasms and stiff muscle feeling in back. Tingling and bee stings sensation in back and thigh. Average pain 5-6

    Saturday- worse pain. Skin is burning and stinging. Muscle spasms, stiffness, and soreness is increasing. Noticing decreased Feeling still in some areas of my back and buttocks as well as outer side of right thigh. Hypersensitivity is a lot worse today. Average pain 6-7

    Sunday- horrible pain. Same as before but my skin feels like the top layer has been peeled off. Severe raw feeling, can't lay or sit against the right side of my back. Constant Bee stinging sensation right side lower back and top of right buttocks that never stops. Extremely stiff right hip. weakness in my right leg when I sit too long in one position. When I stand up my right leg will completely give out if I've been sitting too long. Muscle spasms are a tiny bit better today but pain is wrapping around to the front side of my abdomen from my right side lower back. Average pain 7-8

    Left side is hurting really bad today as well. Deep throbbing pain out of no where. Hip pain and lower left side back pain. Average pain 5

    Monday- same pain as yesterday but my skin is worse and hurts at a level 7-8. Hip and groin pain. Weakness in right leg. Bee stinging sensation is constant. Throbbing pain wrapping around my right side into abdomen. Skin feels completely raw anything touching it makes it worse. Skin on right lower side of back is pink/red where the pain is the worst. Tingling pain in thigh not as bad as bee stings in my back. Horrible pain horrible day. Pain medication has helped. Took the edge off. Still feeling bee sting in back but not as bad as before medication. Average pain 7-8. Average pain with medication 4-5

    Tuesday- decent morning. About 1 hour after waking burning and hypersensitivity returns in back at full swing 5-6. Lower back- spasms and deep aching, and skin is pink/red and hot to the touch. Hip pain returns by the afternoon 2-3. All pain Worsens as day goes on. Hip pain and right leg weakness when sitting for too long. This afternoon when I stood up and tried to bare weight on my right leg it gave out and I almost feel. Lots of throbbing pain and hypersensitivity in right lower side back this evening. Right back muscle pain and thigh pain, deep achy and shooting down thigh returned this afternoon 3-4. Feel absolutely exhausted and I'm requiring naps due to mental and emotional exhaustion from the of the pain. Morning pain 3-4, afternoon pain 5-6, after meds pain lowers 2-3, evening pain with medication 4-5

    Left side back muscles and hip is hurting on and off today starting this afternoon and worsening this evening. Average left side pain 4
    Kristie H
  • Well I woke up this morning with severe right leg weakness, right hip and lower back pain, still have the skin burning and bee sting sensation, and swelling on my right side lower back that wraps around into my abdomen. I called my PM doctor office and the doctor called me back bc he is on vacation and he is concerned and wants me to go to the ER. I had a feeling something was wrong last week and it's just been getting worse. It's been 10 days since my right side RFA and I'm currently in a nightmare situation. Single mom with 2 kids, no help and off to the ER. Please pray everything will be okay.
    Kristie H
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