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RFA and scared!!

Hi all!

I went for my first ever Medial Branch Block on Wednesday and although I was terrified, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  My doctor gave me Valium an hour before and then also a second one as we were starting. We have now scheduled the RFA for later this month and apparently, we’re just doing the Valium again. I’ve read a lot on here and other places where people are knocked out for this and my doctor doesn’t do that. I’m scared at how much more painful this will be than the MBB. I’m also scared of the post-procedure pain as I am on no pain meds and highly doubt I’ll be sent home with anything. Please help calm my nerves!!



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,484

    hello tnintn!
    welcome to spine health
    all new members should take the system tutorial

    no matter who you talk to, your doctor has a certain way of doing things. try talking to him about how nervous your are and asking for something to take at home for pain. my pm doctor's procedures are the same, valium and nothing for pain. not everyone has post pain, everyone is different. just stay positive and get through it and hopefully it will really help.
    keep us posted.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 947
    TNinTN - I've had many RFAs over the years from three different doctors.  My first six RFAs were performed 45 years ago, before the procedure was generally approved by the FDA.  My first RFAs were performed by a neurosurgeon that was authorized because he was part of a research group developing the procedure.  The irony was those first six RFAs were my most successful RFAs. 
    All three doctors/surgeons used different techniques in prepping me for the procedure.  The common part of the procedure is the doctor needs you to be able to respond to different pains while performing the procedure.  On drug used for years was Versed.  That drug allowed the patient to respond to pain stimuli during the procedure, but not remember the pain.  All three of my different doctors did have a VI flowing, so that they could "knock me out" if needed.
    I can say with all honesty that the RFAs were not much more painful that an  injection.  If I ever again had reason to think that an RFA would help me, I again would have the procedure. Most of my RFAs were performed in my mid-neck area.
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  • Thanks everyone!  I guess I should have mentioned that they are doing the RFA in my lumbar spine. 

    I know at my very first appointment, my doctor said something about how if I wanted to, he could start an IV in case he needed to give me more relaxation meds. I’ll just remind him when they call to go over the procedure. He may think I’m a baby, but I really don’t care, lol!!

  • TN

      I had rfa 4 months ago. I was given 3 valium.  Took 1 a hours and a half before..1 hour before and the 3rd 30 mins before. Mine was done on s1-4. I found it no more painful then the si joint injection I had recieved a month or so earlier.  But it really help in a major way. Yes I still have pain but not the intense nerve type it was miserable.  I do still have one area that bothers me that runs under my butt but the rest is at such a low level it was well worth it. I've already told my PM I'm game for it again but must wait a full 6 months for Medicare to pay.

      The best of luck to you and I hope all goes well...

  • I had my RFA this morning and it wasn’t too bad. I am now having a low-grade fever and some nausea and vomiting. Wondering if this could be related or if it’s something else... miserable abdominal pain. 

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