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Radio frequency ablation
lifesajourney posted:
This has been recommended to me for SI joint pain. Anyone had this and what did it involve, how long did the relief last, etc. Thanks for any info. I just want some facts, I 'm not looking for advice whether to do it. I will have it done as soon as I can afford it but was just curious to learn more about it.
bj1208 responded:
Hi Lifesajourney - I had this done 2 times - please remember that we are all different and treatments act differently to us all.

basically this is done under a florascopic xray machine - a needle is inserted and the area numbed - then another is injected into the area and certain nerves are burned in hopes of relieving pain. there are some that have had great response to this whereas it has lasted more than 6 months to a year - sometimes a 2nd or 3rd treatment is needed to feel the full effects.

there are some that this does not benefit at all - as with me the treatments did not work.

please let us know how you are doing and how the treatment works for you. Take care - ^Joy^
lifesajourney replied to bj1208's response:
Thanks for replying. Sorry it didn't work for you. That's sad.
It sounds a lot like the injections I've had. If you have had injections, was the pain comparable to those?
bj1208 replied to lifesajourney's response:
hi again - yes the pain is very similar to injections - a little more painful but almost same -

let us know how u are doing - ^Joy^
pnholmes responded:
  • Treatment was recommended to me by two different doctors.Treatment was painless and very easy - however,
  • after trying it twice with 2 different pain management physicians I gave up. There was absolutely no effect whatsoever. It was as if treatment never took place.
  • Since some do get relief I would try it but it is quite
  • expensive. Of course, if it DID work it would have been worth big expense. Good luck.
LifeIsEntertaining responded:
I have had a RF Ablation for SI joint pain. The description is pretty much as stated before, but I felt it to be the same pain as from the injections. I am pushing forward to the end of year 1, and I wouldn't change it. My pain went from a pretty constant 8 to a 3 and sometime below with my physical therapy. They are considering this for my sciatic nerve as well and if they do, I will do it. My husband has also had one on each side separately and he has also had great success. This is the first time in 10 years I have had so little pain. I wish you the best of luck, but as said, with any procedure, there is always the risk it won't work as well. I was told mine should work from 1 to 3 years and then they could redo it, and believe me, from someone who has been in pain this long, I would do it again. This got me able to get off narcotics, and that makes me very happy! Best of luck to you! And I am sorry it didn't work well for the other person who posted.
sansunrae replied to pnholmes's response:
I, too, have had this procedure without any effect whatsoever. What bothers me is that logically speaking, this SHOULD work. If you are in essence removing the end of the nerve that is pressing on something causing pain, the pain should be alleviated, right? The only explanation I have come up with in my own mind as to why it did NOT work, is that perhaps, it was done to the wrong nerve; the nerve causing the pain was not treated. Has anyone gotten any feedback/explanation from their dr. as to why they think it didn't work?
An_189630 responded:
I just had it done - left side late-Oct and right side early-Nov. Each side took about 20 minutes. Moderately painful procedure (had it done w/out sedation). It's now mid-Jan and I'm still experiencing some relief. I had it performed in my lumbar region. It's probably 60% relief; more relief and longer-lasting relief than injections, which I've been receiving for over 2 yrs. Expected to last 3 to 6 mos.
elser13 responded:
Talked with fellow patient in PT around age 65, who had it done a couple of years ago, pain free for one year; she is having it done again this month, at Nyack Hospital Pain Management.
I would like to have it done also as I have severe degenerative disc disease in lumbar L4/5/S1, cannot sit without pain, but my physiatrist says I am not a candidate with no reason given. From what I read it sounds good, a simple procedure with no side effects.
pdxphotos responded:
I, too, HAD the SI pain. The procedure was as reported. It's not pleasant, but it's worth it. The pain level was about a 4 for the first injection (one with the local to make sure they have the right spot) and a little more for the second (the actual RFA). My MD offered sedation for shot number 2 which I do recommend since you must hold still and it does take more time than the first.
I have had two spinal fusions with instrumentation and am trying to dodge the bullet on #3.
Before RFA I was unable to walk more than 1/2 block before the pain took me down. Now, I can walk blocks and blocks, only pain is from sore muscles that are not use to being used. Will have it done again when necessary.
Good luck to you.
Godsbody responded:
I can tell you the very first time that I had radio frequency done it worked for about a year. I have two more done and no I'm not receiving any relief. The procdure is non-invasive because; it's done as a outpatient surgery. I know that I was put to sleep with anesthesia. I think my pain specialist told me that the procedure only took about 20 minutes. I hope that it works for you.

Good luck!
artsforme22 responded:
I had my first one done about a year ago. I just had my second one done last week for neck pain. I'm still in recovery for this one (opposite side than last time), but the first one was quite effective (70% or better) after trigger point injections to the surrounding area. I'm reading that many people didn't find it very painful, but I must admit that I did...both times. The pain in my neck was much worse for about a week and a half and then I could feel the benefit. I was awake for the whole thing, as the doctor needed to make sure he was hitting the right nerves. It took about 20 minutes with 2 weeks recovery. Your doctor should go over the possible side effects with you so you will be well informed before you go in. Good luck - I hope you find some relief!
trs1960 replied to artsforme22's response:
I've had it done 3 times. with mixed results. I would do it again if it was indicated.

When the RF unit is on the nerve ganglian and turned on it hurts, but as soon as they turn it off the pain subsides. My first treatment didn't work, but I had so much bone damage the doc couldn't get through to access the nerve ganglian.

The next one worked fantastic. The third one helped, but was not able to work as a substitute for much needed surgery.

Good luck. If you trust your doc and he's being honest it will be fine.

I also read a new book Calling Healing Back Pain Naturally by Art Brownstein MD. Art is an orthopedic surgeon that went through the same issues most of us are dealing with. I highly recommend it.
eldon_2nd responded:
My name is Eldon and have experianced lower back pain for years and have been through the mill with all types or procedureds for my pain,,,I have had many epiduals and and last year had 2 radio frequency abaltion on my lower lumbar L4-L5, had severe pain going down my right leg to my foot,,And I have to say>>>It is the best thing I have done thus far,,it helped keep me pain free for almost a year,,I felt almost imediate reliefe within a day or 2,,,I for sure recomend this procedure to anyone with lower back pain, siatica
queenbts51 responded:
I had this done a few times with mixed results. The 1st time it did not work. The 2nd time I got SOME relief. I guess it depends on the individual. The up side was I was able to scale down the dose of meds. Good Luck!

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