Monday, March 22, 2010 neverendingfun, Community Member, asks

Q: Radio tactic nerve Block

Hi,  I am wondering if anyone has gone through a procedure that uses radio tactic waves to block nerves in the back?  How have a lot of questions about the success ratio of it.  My dr says it can work from 3 months to 3 years but there is no way to perdict....  I am not sure about this.  I have been through many back surguries and am fused from T11 - Pelvis and in constant disabiling pain.  My dr thinks this will relieve muscle pain in the mid back for me.

 

Thank you

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Answers (6)
Cort, Health Guide
3/23/10 12:36am
From what I've read It sounds like a good option for you and is often used with problems such as you experience. In Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation the procedure actually burns away the ends of the nerves that are causing you so much pain. The nerves actually do grow back over time perhaps necessitating more procedures. Some people can use the pain-free period they experience to build up muscles in the area to stabilize it and thus have less pain later on. I don't know if that's an option for you or not. The procedure appears to be fairly easily done (local anesthetic) and is not associated with many side effects. If you decide to do it good luck with it. Reply
neverendingfun, Community Member
4/ 1/10 9:54am

Thank you for the info...  I will take it in with the rest.

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Kadie 1964, Community Member
3/25/10 11:56pm

I had a nerve burn done on my neck for chronic pain -- it was a horrible experience -- woke up during the procedure they knocked me back out right way. While I was awake; it felt like they had a jack hammer at the back of my neck and it was, to say the least, very loud and uncomfortable.  I did not have good results at all -- in fact, the nerves grew back and my pain not only didn't ease up, but continued to get worse. They don't tell you that they can grow back quickly, Some people have to have this procedure done every year of more -- and most insurance companies do not pay for it and it is not cheap. I hate to discourage anyone - but wanted to share my experience with you. I hope things go well for you. I've suffered with severe headaches and neck pain since 2007 after a whip lash injury. I'd be happy to help you if you need a friend to chat with. My email is: kadie1964@yahoo.com. Feel free to email me if you wish to. My name is Karen. Take care.

 

 

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spody, Community Member
3/26/10 3:55am

Good Morning to 'Neverendingfun'! 

I have degenerative disc disease. About 12 yrs. ago I had a surgery called a "Rhizotomy".  It was outpatient.  I don't know if this is the same or just a bit similar to the Radio tactic nerve Block.  What this supposedly did was to burn off the nerve endings so that there would be no feeling from those 'said' nerve endings.  Drawbacks?  1. Very painful while needle is going in between my discs and burning the ends off of my nerves.  2. It only lasts for as long as it takes for the nerve endings to 'grow back'.  Anywhere from months to a few years. Mine lasted about a year. (Maybe 9 months or so.)

What problem(s) or disease(s) do you have that is causing your pain? My problems stem from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, a Rectocele Hernia and a Vaginal Hernia, TMJ, Seizures, IBS, Asthma.  Hope all goes well for you. I still have to take pain meds, blood pressure pills,hormones, seizure med, inhaler.

If you need  someone to talk to ,, contact me. Good Luck and I hope I helped somewhat. Don't be nervous. God will look after you. God Bless,

Pam Bean, pkbean1@att.net. Can catch me playing Farmville on Facebook as well. :) Avid gamer lately.

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neverendingfun, Community Member
4/ 1/10 10:12am

Hi Pam,

 

I am Tom...  Thank you for your answer.  I will definately take you up on the email offer.  Connecting with people is a great thing. 

 

I have to correct my posting mis-take.  I am looking at the Radio Frequenecy procedure nerve block.  Sorry about that.  What you went through sounds awful.  From what I read and what my Dr told me it doesn't sound as bad as what you went through,  Thank god...  Just to give some back ground on my issues.  My problems occurred five years ago after getting up from the table.  My lower spine started it failure as a result of radiation treatments I had a 6 month old infant in 1965.  They did this to kill any remaining Nueroblastoma cancer they could not take out of the lower back to ensure my survival.  It, thank god, worked and have suffered very little effects until 2004. 

 

The radiation slowed the growth of my spine and the provided a very small structure for the spinal cord to go through.  This all contributed to the problems.  At this point I have been through five surguries (fusing T11 - pelvis) and am now left in constant pain and on a lot of meds.  I do my best each day to keep moving and doing things like exercise but it is completely exhusting and painful.  I also have growths in my up spine in the T2 and T5 which were leftover Nuerolastoma's that are dead but appear now to be adding to my problems. 

 

My pain mgmt Dr is looking to relieve this pain in the upper back that he believe is caused by the fused lower back putting pressure on the levels above that area.  It is causing a ton of pain and muscle tension issue.  I just am not sure at this point..... 

 

 

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spody, Community Member
4/ 1/10 12:24pm

Tom, Oh, that sounds awful. Makes my complaints seem so minor. All we can do is pray that someday, someone will figure out a way to keep us pain free w/out the stigma attached to pain meds. I still need a few surgeries,,but, w/out insurance (don't want new health care),,that will have to wait. Keep me informed. Pam

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Dr.J, Community Member
3/26/10 10:36pm

Are you speaking of Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation or is the radiotactic wave procedure different? If this is the same or similar I have had Radiofrequency etc. and can give you info on that procedure. I have also had MANY other procedures for chronic back pain and lower extremity neuropathy BOTH invasive and non-invasive. What is your diagnosis? Post the info and I will be glad to answer. DR.J

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neverendingfun, Community Member
4/ 2/10 4:13am

Hi Dr J,

 

I am having the Radiofreqency Nerve Ablation.   Sorry for the mis-posting.  My dr believe that pain and muscle spasms in the mid-back are associated to the fusion from T11 - Pelvis.  This fusion is putting pressure on the mid back and he is trying to stop that pain for me.  I still have the lower back, butt and leg pain and leg weakness but my Dr's beleive this now the cause of growths in my upper back around t2 and t5.  There are dead neuroblastoma tumors that appear they believe might be the cause of most of my problems now but they are two close lung to want to do any thing at this point.  So I am kind of of in limbo.  I just want to relieve some of the pain and try to get off some of the meds. 

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Dr.J, Community Member
4/ 3/10 10:31pm

When do you plan to have this done? I did not find this to be a bad experience at all but I will try ALMOST anything for pain relief. Before the ablation my Dr. injected the area where he would later do the procedure to see if I got any relief from a local anesthetic injection(Marcaine--this is longer acting than a regular local anes.). He said he would only try the ablation if I got relief from the local. I DID get relief of pain with the local. My first pain relief in approx. 5 years. He then did the ablation and it DID NOT give me the relief. You have to remember that to be successful it would have to be done in the EXACT same area as where I got relief with the local (even with flouroscopy this is extremely difficult to hit the exact same area). If I were you I would go for it! Remember that every body responds differently and everyone's condition varies(even with the same DX). Let me know if you have any ?'s and also how you do with the procedure. I have had constant pain for almost 8 years with no relief but I try to keep a positive attitude and I am always looking for new things to try. Hopefully this procedure will be the answer for you!!    GOOD LUCK      DR>J.

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DillingerDame, Community Member
3/28/10 4:52am

It all depends on what is causing your pain, how experienced the person performing the procedure is, and how much you expect to get out of the procedure.  The prodecure does hurt - if you have ever had any prior epidural steriod injections, it is almost the same process but a bit longer and somewhat more painful simply because they are doing more to your nerves.  Very few doctors will knock you out for this procedure as they want you to be awake to give them feedback as they "touch" different nerves.  Some may give you something to calm you before the procedure, which is done on an outpatient basis.  A fluoroscope is generally used to guide the needle into the area where the nerves are to be burned. Often Lidocaine or another numbing medicine is first injected into the area where the doctor will be working.  The worst part is the odd pressure sensation from when the doctor is inserting the needle deep enough into your back to reach the necessary nerves.  You will be laying face down during this time and it can generally take 20-30 minutes.

 

I had this procedure done about two years ago.  The doctor told me to give it a week or so while the trauma to the nerves and surrounding tissue abated (some people may experience what feels like a sunburn in the area the procudre was done in).  Upon my two week follow up visit, there was no relief, nor was there at the six week follow up.  Your doctor is right about not being able to determine if you will get any pain relief.  Some people experience total relief, while other have some level of relief, while others like me have none.  The procedure can be repeated again and again if you do get satisfactory relief since the nerves will regenerate. Some lucky people can have the procedure once and be pain free from that time on.  My pain specialist, neurosurgeon and family doctor all gave me a 50/50 estimate on pain relief. 

 

If you do decide to go ahead with this procudre, keep an open mind about what level of pain relief you may get.  If you get relief, wonderful!  If not, you may want to see if a RACZ procedure, facet injection or intrathecal pain pump might be the next steps in treating your pain.  Good Luck!

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neverendingfun, Community Member
4/ 2/10 4:14am
Thank you so much for the information. It is right on target and a big help!!!! Reply
Jen, Community Member
3/28/10 2:02pm

I had the Radio Frequeceny nerve block but in my head for migraines and more then once. It is a 50/50 percent procedure. The time of effectiveness ranges too (in my opinion). The first worked for about six months the second worked for about 18 months. In the head it is an outpatien procedure that you are awake for; numb but awake. I think the reason the second one lasted longer was that it seemed (after talking with my neruo)that the guy doing the second one know what he was doing more so then the first guy. I don't know if the first guy at the pain clinic burnt all the nerves or "hit" the right spot. He was having a problem for a little while. For me it helped no matter how many months of relief I got. I will say the worse part was the shot of lidocaine and/or other numbing med(s) into the head. Because once the shot of med is put into the head, the med just sits their and has to be moved (or mashed) around by hand or it just stays lke a golf ball under the skin. I don't look forword to them because of the mashing the meds around the head and the soreness where the needle goes in. But after a couple of weeks the relief of reduction of headaches or intensty of pain is worth it. I also, can tell when the nerves are starting to grow back because I start to get headaches in an area I didn't have any for a while and the intensity starts to get worse and slowly increases as months increase; letting me know I need another one. I guess, if I were you as with anything you will have to weigh the pro's and con's of each side. In this case, the pain against any amount of drugfree pain relief. I hope I have helped. I am also, sorry for going on and on.

 

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neverendingfun, Community Member
4/ 2/10 4:17am

THank you for your information.   It's amazing what we will do to try to get out of pain....  If I decide to go through it I can only hope he hits the spot for me too.....  Thanks again

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By neverendingfun, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/05/14, First Published: 03/22/10