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Medial Branch Nerve Ablation
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d4ts posted:
Has anyone done the medial branch nerve radiofrequency ablation (basically the burning of nerves) for their headaches? I am scheduled for it in 2 weeks, by a pain specialist. I was wondering about the recovery. I heard it can be pretty painful for 3-5 days after the procedure. Also....any successes with it? Please give me any information you may have regarding this. Thank you.
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auras_at_noon2 responded:
Yes, d. Having had both nerve burning and pulsed r.f., I found the pulsed r.f. to be just great. The injection site was a tiny bit sore, but is was a great trade off for the migraine. No big deal. I liked it because my nasty neck could "do its thing" but wouldn't turn on a headache, thus helping calm down ONE major trigger for me. I do fairly equally well with weekly trigger pt. injections (torolol and lidocaine sp? ) and don't have to fight with insurance about it. Glad you are having that offered to you; hope it helps!
 
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d4ts responded:
Thank you for your response. Could you tell me what pulsed r.f. (radiofrequency) is? I haven't heard about it...and I'm always looking to try something new, if there is ANY chance of it helping. I even tried a research study last year, where I had a neurotransmitter system implanted (in head all the way down the back)...31 staples & stitches later...NO SUCCESS! I've had 12 years of bad luck! Also, I tried the tr. pt. injections with lidocaine, but what is the torolol? Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate it.
 
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quietone60 responded:
I recently had this done and my pain after was extreme! It didn't hit me until a few days after the procedure, but it remained for a LONG time (4 weeks) - while not the norm, I want to warn others of the possibility it may not be over in a few weeks :) I am still dealing with a sore/stiff neck - but on the bright side....my migraines are getting better!!!! I'm beginning to think it was worth it and would likely do it again if needed. Take care of yourself!!
 
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walksalone09 responded:
Hi auras, where have you been? Glad to see you back. Hopefully you will visit more often? :grin:
 
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imachildagain replied to quietone60's response:
Seems like these are rather dated topics, but I've had the nerve cutting now 6 times. 2 cervical that worked for 6 months, 2 lumbar that worked about 6 months, then right cervical that didn't work. So at that point had a 2nd fusion in the neck. Meanwhile also 2 lumbar fusions. Finally had a spinal cord stimulator implanted for the lumbar which is a blessing for the lower pain. But neck, shoulders, arms, and the disabling headaches are killing me, besides all the narcotics. So I just had another nerve cutting in the right cervical, but this time higher and lower. Didn't really have much pain from the procedure, but after several days began getting worse and worse. Lo and behold research on line tells me that when you get to doing this to the C2-C3 area that you can actually have almost twice the pain for 1-2 weeks after the procedure. Yes, that's exactly what is happening. I'm totally useless and pain won't stop even in sleep. Would have loved if the doc had told me this before hand, but I'm coming up on 2 weeks and still no relief. Doc says 6 weeks before relief, on line says 2-4 weeks. I don't remember it being this long before, but have been dealing with these issues for 21 years. And my body says that when this procedure does work, 6 months is my max, even though doc argues more like 18 months. Moral is, everyone is so different, but docs so often are not up front with what to expect (and it's a wide variable.) I did find out that in addition to Norco, Vicodin, Valium, Ativan, Tylenol, RX topical ointment, heated massage, ice packs, that extra doses of caffeine with the Tylenol do help the headaches. I drink decaf, so have changed, but it takes at least 2 headache pills (that have the equivalent of 1 cup of coffee) and 4 real cups of coffee to stop the headache so I can partially function or watch t.v. without sunglasses at night.

For those that it works for longer, yippee. When it works, it's great, but now I've had 17 procedures with just this spine specialist and am tired of being poked and poked. I'm going to talk to Medtronics who makes the spinal cord stimulator implant as they also make one for the neck area and see if after these many years of medical intervention that seem like 6 month bandaids is something that I could do. I'm also having to take Neurontin for nerve pain and numbness in one arm and hand.
 
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jetsokc replied to imachildagain's response:
I'm finishing up my internship in massage therapy and have been able to sit in on sessions with a 35 year old client, that had the nerve cut in her cervical vert. and is now having pain in her lower legs and feet. Has anyone had this happen after the surgery? We have a wonderful instructor from Austria that has been working on her for approx. 1 month now, 2 times a week and she is showing great progress. Working the occipital region, cervical areas, with massage and traction.
 
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imachildagain replied to jetsokc's response:
I only had trouble with lower extremities after lower back fusions and radiofrequency (nerve cutting). I've been through massage, Chiropractic, massive intense drugs, 1x month Cortisone, Epidural injections, heat, ice, exercises, physical therapy, on and on for 21 years (actually more prominent in neck region). But after the lower pain and even Neurontin wouldn't control the Sciatica pain and could hardly walk and yes even lots of traction (I have a professional unit at home), my Neurosurgeon finally recommended the implanted spinal cord stimulator. It was a miracle for me. I would prefer to do P.T., massage, traction, exercises, but no help. So, guess my lower body is bionic and the pain relief is amazing, so after 21 years of non-stop cervical pain, I'm hoping they'll finally give up and hopefully implant another stimulator in my neck, hopefully putting off any more fusions. I am truly glad for someone getting relief from massage, but don't know why a higher cervical nerve cutting would affect the lower extremities.


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