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Has anyone tried radiofrequency nerve ablation?



  • I had it done on my L4 L5 back in 2002. Worked really well. I had it done under mild sedation, I could feel what they were doing but couldn't care less. I still have a numb spot there. Unfortunately I now have severe problems with my L5 S1 and need a fusion but it got me 15 Years of relief instead of the year or two they promised. The key was some excellent physio I got afterwards through a clinic run by a local University in combination with a teaching hospital. Hope this helps.
  • scifrk1212, you said "jump off the table." Wow! That's a little scary!

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  • Phil1966, 15 years of relief? That is awesome! I would be overjoyed to have that kind of result.

  • jbowerjbower wisconsin Posts: 31

    I had the radio frequency done the end of last year on both the left and right ride of my thoracic spine. They were done one week apart. We started with the right side on Friday and the following Friday the left side.

    For mine the knocked me out because they did it in five spots on both sides of my thoracic. So I had a total of 10 entry points. I only took the day off of work for each Friday.

    It was odd because the right side I had no pain or discomfort afterwards and felt fine minus no pain relief. When they did the left side I was fine till the next day. I had hot flashes all day like when you get a bad sunburn but without pain. Which is common when having this done.

    I remember the doc saying it may take a few weeks for it to start working. Unfortunately though I had zero pain relief from them. My doctor wanted to try a second round which he said most insurance companies say you have to wait 3 months before you can repeat the procedure. Lucky me though as mine said we had to wait 6 months.

    By the time I went back I changed my mind and didn't want to repeat it since I saw no relief. He did tell me that it may take a few trys before they hit the right set of nerves. But I told him no because say if these did work a second time around they usually only last between 8 to 12 months before you have to do it again. It didn't sound like a reasonable treatment plan financially for me.

    I've heard some good stories for others though having this done and it worked. Some for a short time and some for longer. It just depends on how fast your nerves grow back.

    It's worth a shot though to see if it works for you. No need to worry about any pain from it as you probably are in more pain than what you will see from the procedure.

    Taking it one day at a time, that is all we really can do while living with chronic pain.

  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 274

    I've had several over the years. Back in the 1970s, I had an early version of RFA performed in my lower back that enabled to rehab from a lower spine injury. I was told that I was one of the first in the U.S. to have the procedure. I had six RFAs in one procedure.

    In the last three years, I've had three in my cervical area that really didn't help me.

    RFAs are worth a try. I think a lot depends on your medical condition and try of injury.

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  • I had several treatments of RFA. My experience wasn't good. I wasn't given an IV drip. I was told to lie on a table on my stomach, period. Doing that in itself was difficult for 40 minutes at a time. I got zero help from four treatments. I had panic attacks on the table after the first one and couldn't wait to get off the table and out of there. I imagine it could work I guess, but actually finding the offending nerve and treating it seems like alot to ask. It was also painful. It might have been because my doctor was at this clinic for a short term stay which I didn't realize til later, so he wouldn't have to face any long term consequences of what he'd done there, or that's how I felt. It was a complete waste of time for me. That was in about 2010. Maybe things have improved since but I'd never do it again.

  • Jules1JJules1 Oklahoma City, OklahomaPosts: 64

    I had right lower back ablation in 4 sites at end of September. I had left side scheduled for 3 weeks later (conflicts). I skipped it. I took oral medication and had done in Docs office with fluoroscope. Hurt a little more than other shots but pain later was bad. None of the shots worked but others on here had good results.

    My insurance changes with new year and hope for fusion

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