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stevebssteveb Posts: 95
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I don't know how to spell that.

anyways, I need some help from my fellow spinies. My wife has had three facet injections in her neck to relieve her horrible headaches. They seem to help her for about six months, then she needs another shot.

The pain doctor recommended that she have a ryzotomy shot to numb the nerves and eliminate the pain. Now, my questions are:
1. has anyone here had this done?

2. Did it help?

3. Isn't this just masking the underlying problem and keeping her body from telling her that something is wrong?

4. Is this nerve numbing permanent?

I tried to search this but only found those that had it done in their back. I haven't found anything that explains the long term ramifications of this procedure. If anyone has any info, I would certainly appreciate it.


  • Kattoo:

    Thanks for your quick response. My wife has had many tests, but I don't know what they were. She has horrible headaches due to her neck being out of line. She used to go to a chiropractor, which helped for a day or so, but not a permanent solution. So, she has headaches and severe neck pain with a little bit of numbness in her left hand.

    She has had 3 facet injections, which have helped, but no epidurals.

    I believe I read where a rhyzotomy does burn the nerve endings.
  • I was thinking about her seeing my neuro. He is the best. I had my L5/S1 fused in 06'. He did an awesome job and I'm back to almost normal.
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  • I did have a lumbar done on 3 levels, it didn't help me at all. Basically they do a couple test injections of pain meds on the nerves to be burned, if the test results are what they expect then they will do the burn. One injection has a med that has a very short duration (like hours) the other a longer duration (days). You won't know which one you'll get when but the doctor will. Basically it's a single-blind study.

    The procedure itself is using radio-frequency energy to kill the specific nerve by burning it. I was told that it is normal to have muscle spasms and increased pain (likely because of those spasms) after the procedure and that it could take up to 8 weeks to get any relief.

    Ask your doctor the standard questions to verify how the trial will run, exactly what will be done during the RF, what is considered a successful outcome and what is considered unsuccessful. Also ask how long the doctor expects relief and what will happen when that relief ends. I've heard that relief can last a couple years, some doctors will do another rhizotomy and others wont. My PM said only one because: A) it didn't work for me and B) the body can and may find a way to "re-run" the circuit. After a few rhizotomies I might have a frankenstein setup of nerves they won't be able to work on in the future.

    Even though the rhizotomy did nothing for my back pain, my PM doctor says he considers the procedure successful because the nerves were successfully burned.

    I hope your wife gets some relief from the rhizotomy, I've read a LOT of people saying they are great!
  • Sorry, I was going to edit my earlier post but that STUPID poll covered up half of the editing box!!!

    Anyway, this will permanently kill the nerve. Luckily, the nerves in the facet joints do NOTHING other than to report pain. They have absolutely no other use... you know, little stuff like breathing and other autonomic things.. :D
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  • Thanks for the info jay. It just seems to me that a Rhyzotomy is like disconnecting the warning lights in your car. If something is wrong, I want to know about it.

    Maybe I'm looking at it all wrong, I don't know.
  • That is one way to look at it and I kinda had the same concern. The problem is that if they are constantly reporting pain no matter what you do then whether permanently on or off doesn't matter much. Just like the warning lights in your car, if they're on and you can't get them to shut off then they do no good.
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