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Post RFA Questions

I got a right side lumbar RFA exactly one week ago today. Last Wed when I got home sure I was in some pain & a bit more loopier from the first the I had this same procedure done, from the same exact doctor. Jan 2013 I had the right side, lumbar RFA done and had absolutely no downtime. I didn't have any of the post procedure issues I'm having this time and for me, it took within a week. It was great! However, like I'm sure most of you know the RFA only works for so long. Mine lasted roughly 14 to 15 months. Early April of this year, severe back pain hit & here in Jersey in the spring it rains a lot, so I was in massive amounts of pain. Oh I forgot to mention that I suffer from widespread, chronic pain (musculoskeletal & neuropathy), so my pain never ends. When the pain came back in my lower back, I spoke to my PM & said I gotta get this done again! I had a problem w/my insurance company accepting the procedure, until one day my doctor called them up and said listen, this girl suffers through enough pain, she has had this procedure before and it took away 95% of the back pain & we're doing it again. Thanks to him, I got approved & then scheduled. Yay!! However, this time around after the procedure, it didn't start right away, but two days later my right buttock & thigh & part of my lower back went numb (this was the side the procedure was on). I felt a bit creeped out & scared so I contacted my doctor and he said that it's normal. He said that's a great sign that it took and will last roughly 3 weeks, wonderful! Ugh. Then 3 days after my procedure I started feeling a lot of pain and soreness. I emailed my doctor and he said it's natural and should go away in roughly 2 weeks.
Today is exactly 1 week after the procedure and it has been hell for me. It is so painful to bend partially over or sideways, it hurts to sit, to stand, to lay down & to walk I've been limping bc it's hurts too much. I can't touch myself at all on my thigh & buttock area without hurting, I'm super sensitive. I was sensitive before the procedure and am on a high nose of Neurontin 3 times a day which was helping, some days anyway, but now, I can't touch myself at all! The numbness and soreness is still there, but now it kinda feels as though I got a really bad sunburn, ouch!!! I am on pain meds and they don't help at all with this one bit. I've been sitting on cushions during the day and also icing as much as possible. I haven't found one thing that will make this sensitivity & sunburn feeling subside or go away. I haven't slept well at all for 7 days and I'm so so tired!!! I made sure I rested after the procedure, iced and took it easy. I don't do much during the day as far as work goes so I've been taking it easy, elevating my legs & icing as much as I could. I don't see my PM doctor for another 6 days (1 day short of 2 weeks after the RFA). However, until then, can anyone recommend ANYTHING to help with the sunburn feeling (pain & soreness) and sensitivity?
I just "feel" that there is something wrong, but my doctor says it's all normal and that it's a good sign that it took. However, then why when I got the same exact procedure done on the same exact side over 16 months before hand did I not get any of this post pain, soreness, numbness, etc & it took just fine?! I don't think I'll ever get as to why. Can anyone relate? Recommend?
3 Responses
351246 tn?1379682132
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

Hi!
I am sorry to hear about your medical problems. Even though you had success in the first attempt, at times RFA leaves the person feeling numb in that area or the pain is replaced by a tingling or burning sensation. So, it is difficult to say whether this time it will work for you or not.  
I know it is difficult but you need to wait for at least 10-14 days to see if the symptoms go away or not. If they do not then you may need to opt for ice packs, massage therapy, pain relief patch, physiotherapy, yoga, and spinal cord stimulators.
Hope this helps. Take care!

The medical advice given should not be considered a substitute for medical care provided by a doctor who can examine you. The advice may not be completely correct for you as the doctor cannot examine you and does not know your complete medical history. Hence this reply to your post should only be considered as a guiding line and you must consult your doctor at the earliest for your medical problem.
Avatar universal
My apologies, but for myself, I don't think you know what your talking about when it comes to pain management or any other type of medical conditions for that matter after doing some research on you and your creditials.
Today has been exactly 10 days since the procedure & none of the pain, soreness, numbness, sensitivity has gone away. If you "READ" what I wrote, you would have seen that I use ICE PACKS EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! I have absolutely NO INCOME, so unless you can find me a massage therapist that is covered by Medicaid or is FREE in the state of NJ, Massage Therapy is NOT an option!! Physical Therapy, been there done that, does **** for me & my pain. Same with the spinal cord stimulator..I tried the trial. My pain is WIDESPREAD, which you being a "Dr." you should know that widespread chronic pain is pain that never stops and takes over your ENTIRE BODY!!! A spinal cord stimulator only helps one area. It's like an internal tens unit, basically. I am on pretty strong pain medication & no I'm not going to share which ones and if those aren't helping this numb, sore & painful post RFA, neither is a pain patch!!! A few years back, I was on the highest dose of the Fentanyl patch and that didn't help anywhere near as well as what I am on now. I say this because after I got the 1st RFA done, these meds did help with the pain, but then you build up a tolerance to these medications. One of my pills, I've been on the same dose for 18 months now, so yes, it stopped working as well as it did which in turn doesn't help the pain as much as it once did. My PM dr knows all this, but refuses to increase it. I really like this doctor, so I'm confused as to what to do. I'm so sick of being in pain. I never know what each day will bring and the increase in pai levels can change at a moments notice, when the weather changes and how much physical activity I do that day. I've also tried yoga once & I was only able to do it for 5 to 10 min. Using the chair wasn't so bad, but once we went to thoor, I was in so much pain I went home & was stuck in bed for a few days there after. Kneeling, bending and sitting on a mat on a hard floor is way too painful for me to enjoy. I hear tho for others it has helped.
Back in 2001, I was the passenger in a car who got hit head on. My automobile "no-fault insurance" covered Chiropractor & I tried that for a while, which didn't help much. Then I asked about accupuncture and luckily to my surprise, the no fault auto policy approved it. For about 6-8 months I went and after the first few times of going, I felt absolutely wonderful & the pain went away for a few years. However since them the pain has taken over my entire body, whereas then it was just into back, neck & constant headaches. I can't afford accupuncture either, tho wish I could find a place that is covered through medicaid.
351246 tn?1379682132
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
I am sorry you feel this way, and yes, I can understand your frustration regarding the pain and burning sensation that you are feeling. I have read through your post, and the subsequent one as well, and can empathize with what you are going through. Not having enough monetary resources to handle your medical expenses can be quite frustrating and limits the possibilities you can explore. However, please do not lose heart, and look around for options to help you.

When a pain of such intensity affects the whole body, then there are areas which pain more than other. Such areas can be controlled by spinal cord stimulators. However, yes, if there are multiple such areas then this is not a viable option.

Generalized body pain can also be due to low vitamin B12, low vitamin D, anemia, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, thyroid issues etc. So, this aspect should also be looked into.

You can join local support groups and talk to people who are going thorough similar problems. There are many coping techniques which people in the same situation learn from each other.

Talk to your pain management doctor. Maybe he can suggest a dose or drug modification or combination that will help ease your problems. I can understand his reluctance to increase the dose, but he may be willing to add another drug to help with your symptoms.

If you cannot afford a physiotherapist then try yoga techniques you learnt on the chair or some other exercises you learnt while at chiropractor/physiotherapist earlier which seemed to help you.

Talk to your pharmacist, any nurse educator, someone at any free clinic you know or your pain doctor, or any other charitable institute or help center or your medicaid officer in your  area who can help you find an alternative solution.

Just reach out to as many as you can--maybe someone can offer a solution--both in terms of insurance and treatment.

I am sorry I am of no real help--but just don't let go--talk to your doctors, health professionals and please join a support group!


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