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Burning pain after Radio Frequency Ablation to Neck (RFA)



  • Dshep21DDshep21 Posts: 1
    edited 07/29/2015 - 10:40 PM
    i've been dealing with neck pain for at least 6 years., back pain for 31 years . i had surgery on my lower back when i was only 21. it helped but it will never be the same pre surgery before pain stated. pain medication helps but need to take more since my bodies tolerance to the dose. i had blocks and epidurals many times for the pain and headaches i have . they seemed to work for about 3 months but would always need it done again and again.
    i had rfa on my right side of my neck and i haven't had any headache on that side. i'm scheduled for the left side in a week. i will say it really hurt during the process at one point. it was a very bad burning feeling sensation that lasted about :40 seconds, about 39 seconds too long. with that said, i will say that so far i haven't had any headache on my right side. i'm feeling optimistic since this has worked so far and will say i'm excited to get the other side done.

    thanks, david

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  • roxannerroxanne Posts: 1
    edited 07/29/2015 - 10:41 PM
    i had my rfa on the left side of my neck on june 19th and was scheduled to have the left side done this friday july 31. i cancelled because the burning pain in my neck is not deteriorating, my shoulders ( both ) hurt and the numbness goes all the way down to my fingertips. i am in pain. on duexis, 800 mg 3x a day, and it's too much. 2400 mg seems way too much. i am going to see my dr on tues aug 4th to find out some answers before getting the right side done. this has been very painful, i have headaches in the back of my head, cannot fully focus in work (and i need to train over the phone so i may need to go on std not sure yet). my balance is off and the overall feeling of pain is very depressing, causing more depression. there are times i feel i can fall asleep while driving. main issue is dealing with pain and trying to work. is anyone working full time like me? how are you dealing with it? no one i know is going through this.
    anonymous said:
    i had extreme neck pain (herniated and degenerative discs) that also lead to severe headaches. after steriod injections were not successful i had the rfa procedure (nearly 2 weeks ago). my headaches are gone (which is wonderful) but there is still some neck and shoulder pain.

    the pain/side affects include numbness, skin sensitivity and an uncomfortable burning sensation in my neck and shoulders. the skin sensitivity runs through out my neck, shoulders and even under my arms. wearing a necklace against my skin is unbearable. even the collars and the seams of shirts irritates my skin. it reminds me of the feeling that i had with shingles, minus the rash.

    has anyone else experienced this with an rfa procedure? if so, did it last or eventually go away? is there anything that can be done to help with these post treatment issues?
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  • Kathy JennerKKathy Jenner Posts: 1
    edited 08/25/2015 - 4:19 PM
    i just found this site and am very grateful for the openness and honesty. i have had chronic cervical pain and migraines for many years. the migraines are worse as i get older which is disappointing. like so many of you, i have chronic pain in my neck and upper back. for the past two years i have had pain under my left shoulder blade radiating down, which has nearly made me crazy. i have tried many non-invasive treatments and most recently had a number of facet joint injections, epidurals and trigger point injections, all to relieve the pain on my left side. all of these treatments have provided relief but the pain always returns. i am scheduled for rfa - not even sure if she plans to do cervical or thoracic because she has given me injections in both. however i have been asking everyone i know persoanlly who has undergone the treatment and boone has recommended it. i am planning to continue with trigger point injections until i can decide. my husband died of cancer two years ago so i am feeling very alone and stressed a lot trying to do everything. i am also hoping for insurance approval of botox injections for migraine. i would love suggestions.

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  • I'm so surprised. I was dead asleep with my RFAs. He has a fluoroscope to see where to burn the nerves. He can see them. Why talk to me? I woke ONCE and screamed and they put me back out. THANK GOD! So a competent doctor and fluoroscope ....why can't that work? It did for me. And now I had (4 years later) the lidocaine to see if an RFA would help me...again I was asleep. He doesn't need my help. I couldn't bear being awake...I'm allergic to pain :)
    We're all different with different experiences but we need each other to help us decide our chances
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    welcome to spine-health
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    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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  • CldmtdCCldmtd Posts: 1
    edited 01/17/2016 - 3:25 AM
    i had an rfa a week ago. i've been dealing with cronic pain for several years. this procedure has left me with almost unbearable pain. worst burning/stabbing/aching pain ever. i know they say it can take up to 8 weeks to get some relief but this is crazy. i was told to return to work (as a nursing assistant) two days after procedure. i can barely wear clothes at this point. the irritation is almost unbearable. my pain medication has been increased and i'm using ice/heat. still only getting minimal relief. can anyone help?????

    this is an old thread, and most of the members have either left or not been seen on the forum for a long time

    i suggest you create a new thread

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    liz -spine-health moderator
  • HI, I had RFA going into my 3rd week post procedure, the burning sensation hurt severely for me as well the pain and numbing sensation hurt to wear clothes and jewlery this pain was worse that what I had originally .  I've been in pain now for 2+ years we have tried  Facet joint injections, steroid injections, and a week after RFA we did Trigger point injections for all the shoulder & muscle pain.  I 've had some relief but nothing ever relives my pain for long.  After RFA my head pain was gone for about 12days.  Now my head pain is back along with the neck & shoulder pain and spasms.  We just tried Lyrica instead of Topamax im feeling some relief from the Lyrica I think ..but today my Pain is bad.  I would live to be off all my precriptions.  I just found tis thread to talk with other people that can truly understnad what Im going through.  Thak you all for your comments for me to read and relate...... I feel your pain too and wish we all were healed .
  • I had a right side cervical RFA procedure done in September (2015) and it lasted a glorious 5 months.  For the first 2-3 weeks I felt like I had a bad sunburn on my neck and right shoulder.  As the weeks progressed the burning sensation lessened and an itching sensation began.  The itching lasted about 4 months.  As the irritated area became smaller and smaller and then completely stopped, so did the pain relief.  I'm guessing that those sensations were indicators that the nerves were dying, then completely dead, then healing (as the area of irritation decreased) and then fully healed (when the itching stopped).  Right after the itching stopped, the severe pain in my neck returned, almost overnight.  Going back and having it done again!  All the burning and itching is very much worth the price to pay to be pain free from degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, arthritis and spinal stenosis! 
  • I just had my first RFA treatment last week for migraine headaches.  I would say I had relief for 7 days and am not sure if I should pursue it further.

    My headache history goes back to 1994 and after years of unsuccessful treatments, I had a neurostimulator implated in 2003.  That has worked wonderfully up to last January when I was supposed to have the battery replaced along with one of my leads.  My insurance company rejected the procedure and all my appeals.

    Since then, I've gone back to the drawing board of all the treatments with no success.  I've done botox three times.  The first was in July and I received 9 weeks of relief before I was back to "normal".  The second and third treatments in October and January have provided nothing.

    We then tried nerve blocker injections with no success the first time and about 24 hours of relief the second time which prompted my doctor to go for the RFA.

    So now that I had 7 days of relief than back to my normal pain which has caused me to alter my life and work, is it worth doing again?  I've been in and out of doctors for the last 14 months and I can't move forward.  I'm frustrated with turning my head at this point into a dart board and wasting all this money when the solution is out there but the insurance has a problem with it.

    I'm starting to wonder if moving to a state the allows medical marijuana would be the easiest way for me to go at this point.

    Any suggestions on continuing some of these treatments?
  • kcoxriedekkcoxriede DenverPosts: 3
    edited 05/08/2016 - 8:14 AM
    Hey all!  I hope my story is helpful.  I've had 2 different RFA's on my neck now.  The first one was in September 2015 on C4,5,6, right side only.  Before that, I had been in chronic, severe pain, with almost daily migraines, for 5 years until I found a pain mgt doc who would listen to me.  After my RFA, I had zero pain and zero migraines.   It lasted 5 glorious months.  It took about a week for the pain to go away. Then the sunburn effect kicked in.  Very painful burn in my neck and shoulders, but it was absolutely worth it!  Aftet about 6 weeks the burn began to lessen and an itching began.  The area of itching got smaller and smaller offer the next couple months.  When the itching stopped at about 5 months, the cervical neck pain returned.  On May 2nd, I had another RFA of C4,5,6 on both sides.  It's been almost a week and I have yet to realize full relief and have no sunburn effect yet, but I know it's coming. And I also know the stages now so at least I know that when the itching starts that the nerves are beginning to regenerate and I should schedule the next RFA about two months out.  If your doc says that the procedure wasn't successful if you had relief for less than 6 months, I suggest you see a new doc.  5 months of living pain free, minus the sunburn effect,  was like having a new lease on life.  At least I know I can look forward to having relief with an RFA.  Don't give up, people. :)  Best of luck to you all!
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