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Repeat radiofrequency ablation

Started by swaye on 05/25/2012 11:59am

Hi everyone - I am new to the board and had a question. I was reading some previous discussions on rhizotomies but they are quite old and I need some advice. I was at my pain management doctor yesterday who I have been seeing for several years now. I am still trying to figure out a pain management plan for myself because I don't seem to tolerate medications very well and suffer from side effects. I did, however, have 2 rhizotomies or nerve ablations in the last year and had significant pain relief (June 2011 and Jan. 2012). My problem is, that they only seem to last for 4 months. My insurance only allows me to do it twice a year so I have 2 months were the pain is increased. I know that some people say that you can get increased pain from scar tissue but my pain increased ALOT when they wore off even after the first one so I wouldn't think it would be that much scar tissue. It really just feels like 'hot' nerves. My doctor uses smaller needles and does each one individually rather then the machines that use one bigger needle and does them all at one time. I space them 2 weeks apart and have them done from the L4 through the S2 levels. When I asked her yesterday to get a 3rd one in June she was concerned because she has never had to do a 3rd one on anyone before. I never seem to be the one that gets lucky where it works and last for 2 years. She said she wanted to think about it and talk to some of the other doc's.

Can anyone offer some advice? Can I keep doing these or is there a reasonable limit? I would like to say that they might last longer each time but I seem to re-generate nerves quickly and also have fibromyalgia which makes it worse. Thanks!

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7 Responses

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hi swaye have you ever had a mri or have someone read it if you have. if you are having spinal shots i have had 2 of them. they hurt like hell. waist of time and money.

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Yes - I have had 4 MRI's in my 12 years of pain management. What I really need to know is if anyone has had any repeat radiofrequency ablations (rhizotomies) continuously for pain management. I can't seem to find this answer anywhere online nor is it mentioned on any other pain management websites. They do work very well for me so I would, of course, like to keep doing them because it allows me to live a somewhat normal life and take less medications. If anyone has any answers, please let me know.

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hi swaye im do this radio waves if yo are talking about that I no everyone has there on pain thing i have had pain i totally couldnt stand. my goal was to get betr and be rid of any strong pain meds. vicoden is what i was useing and now after surgery i dont take it i may take a aspiron when i get stiff i walk and most muscle pain goes away; good luck

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Laminectomy Fusion / cage wrap L-4-5 . S-1 - eleven years ago . two surgeries , left with chronic pain .
I have to use percocet 10 / 325 , and morphine sulf 30mg x 3 ... daily to get very limited relief . Have
tried everything / nothing much works . It seems the "muscles cramp" constantly around fusion area ,
with any physical activity?
Has anyone had any luck with *Muscle Relaxers ? Thru the years iv'e tried talking to various doctor's ,
but get *very vague answers for any kind of help ? They all say go back to the first doctor that did the surgeries on you . But that's why i am here i say , *to get a new opinion . Its very frustrating . Has anyone else run into this ?

AC / Seattle

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I am not sure on a defined limit, but I have had it done 4 times L3 to S1. Given time stamp you have probably had it dealt with, but I think 3 is not unreasonable.
And to muscle relaxers- absolutely can be effective for spasms. Have your dr discuss different ones with you. I personally like methocarbamol (robaxin) because it doesn't make you so sleepy and "brain relaxed" during the day.
Good luck

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Hi, can someone tell me whether or not I can take my normal opiate medications at the time I have a RF Ablation procedure. When I had the diagnostic injection to see if my pain could be reduced by blocking the nerves I had all of the medication out of my system for two hours prior to the procedure. As a result I was in extreme pain prior to the procedure, such that I could think of nothing other than the pain. The procedure was painful for me since I was already having 8-9 level pain, then when they pushed the needles into that already sensitive area it was even worse. This is why I am curious whether I can take my typically prescribed medications prior to the RFA Procedure. I am also wondering how others feel about the new political climate that is forcing people who have had good success over time with morphine and other opioid treatment to take less opioids. I suspect that some new chronic pain patients are having to endure really bad pain due to this national populist driven view. I will be happy if the RFA procedure works, but I do not like that I am more or less forced to do so. I would have agreed to do it without the new attitudes about pain treatment. I once felt that I had some control over my healthcare. I no longer feel that way, and I take it as an assault on my civil liberty. The reason why pain medications are so expensive is due to the government control. I do not smoke, drink, or take any illegal drugs,. I have been taking morphine for 15 years due to chronic pain.

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I am 3 weeks pre-op for cervical 3 level fusion, then 6 weeks later T10 through S1 cages/rods (neck also), correct scoliosis that has developed due to degenerative disc. I have been in pain management for over a year. It is ok to repeat ablations. I am having 4, 10 days before my neck surgery to hold my pain level down waiting for back surgery. It is ok to take your meds before going for an ablation. Muscle relaxers are beneficial, however mine is so bad and out of alignment, I still have them, just not as severe. I can't stand more than 5 minutes without leaning on something, walking is a struggle, even with a cane. I am 65 with an active lifestyle, and a dog rescuer. This is not living, in my mind, and I will not give in to it. If my future is in a wheelchair, I will go down swinging, not watch strike 3 pass home plate. Mine is so severe, no surgeon in this area will touch me, but I was lucky enough to find a Chicago neurosurgeon that comes to this area every two weeks.....for now. Since it is not a permanent move for him, I feel he was sent for me. I am not a big bible thumper, but it seems more than coincidence. Take control of your own health.

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