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RF Lesioning Painful? And Helpful?

Aquaman77AAquaman77 Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:32 AM in Chronic Pain
Since lumbar fusion 5 years ago the surgery was technically successful. From what I understand I have several sources of pain and some are from before surgery. The surgery just made some things worse, but still much better than before.

Lately the PM has given me facet joint nerve blocks which have helped nicely and yet not enough. It seems to be a good start. Next week I am scheduled for the RF lesioning procedure. He said it would hurt about the same as the nerve block shots which I though were pretty rough. (And I have had tons of shots in my back and mainly get SIJ cortisone shots which I find painful.) Any idea if they are much worse than the facet nerve blocks? Anything I should do or ask for before the event? I take 2-3 vicodin ES/day and 2-3 20mg baclofen/day. I am new to baclofen and they both help some. I really want to get more things worked out and resolved so I can get back to life.

Also, any ideas on if this will help as much as the nerve blocks? The research articles I found RF to work pretty good, but it's very complicated in the spine area and everyone is different.

Any thoughts, insight, or feedback is appreciated.




  • I've had a bunch of this done in my neck and head and have mixed feelings about it. As far as how painful ... well it really wasn't any worse than any other needle type procedure, including the facets. My personal experience has been that the nerve regenerated within 3 months and came back madder than a hornet. Also some of my docs are concerned that this type of procedure is a prelude to CRPS in many people. Basically you never know if it will work for you until you try. Did the doc do a block in that same facet to determine if it's the source of your problem?

    I have used Baclofen in the past and it was a good drug for me for a while until my body got used to it. It is a drug that you cannot go off cold turkey after taking it for a little while. It can cause some hallucinations.

    Good luck,

  • Thanks C for the feedback, I feel a little better now about the procedure. I have heard about it back firing when the nerve grows back and I was told it was a very painful procedure by one person. The nerves growing back angry concerns me and I am hoping that doesn't happen.

    The doc hit the same nerves two different times, two weeks apart with the nerve block in the same area. It seems to cut my pain 1/3 to 1/2 and I am praying the lesioning works. It's the best pain relief I have had so far.

    No one has mentioned CRPS before so now I will be prepared if they do.

    I sincerely appreciate the reply.

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  • Mark,

    I just wanted to warn you about baclofen. I see you're taking the lowest dose at the moment. Whoever said it's addictive is completely wrong. It's not and the body does not 'get used to it and require more' as with all addictive drugs. The body tolerates it well and you can carry on taking the same amount ad nauseum, giving the same amount of pain relief.

    However, baclofen is a really dangerous drug if you've been taking it at that dose for longer than 2-3 weeks. Do NOT stop taking it suddenly and never miss a day, because it can induce the most awful effects, such as hallucinations, seizures, coma and in some cases, death. It's only dangerous IF you suddenly stop!

    Baclofen is effective against skeletal muscle contraction, which is probably how it's helping you. If you want something to help the smooth muscle contractions, use lorazepam at 4mg/day

    If I can be of any more help, please don't hesitate to contact me; I've accumulated loads of information about this and other muscle relaxants through necessity!

    Yours faithfully,

    Dr Val Thomas
  • I have just been prescribed balcofen 10 mg 2-3 X a day and I have been on it for 3 days. It seems to help me. I have tried Robaxin, Norflex, and skelaxin. none of which have seemed to help. I do not like medication. I worry about long term side effects. Yet the quality of my life sucks! So I am now resorting to meds. Any info on this amount of Balcofen and is it ok to stop taking this amount suddenly?

  • the discussion about this med under the Medications topic. Have you discussed your concerns with your doc? Sometimes we really must weigh the benefits against the risks. If the meds help to have some quality of life it may be worth taking them but that is always a personal decision. Good luck.
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