Anyone had a procedure on your spine with burning nerves in facets?

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 99
   Posted 1/26/2011 1:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey everyone!
I went to the pain doctor today hoping for some good long term pain medication. I got something else entirely! I just found out that instead of the pain medication I was hoping for, the doctor wants to try another procedure. This one is a two parter- the first part they take a large needle and put it into the part of my back that they think is causing the problem (I have been to 6 docs and tried everything on their personal agendas). Anyway they put a local into the facet joint of my spine and shoot it up with a local. If that takes care of it (I will have 2 hours to decide if it makes a difference in the pain level) then they will go into the same area on a different day and they will put something else into the area and with "like microwaves" (his quote) they will burn the nerves in that area. If it works, I could be pain free for 6 months to 2 years. But after the 3 shots every two weeks with the epidural cortisone didn't work, I am skeptical. Plus if this doesn't work the doctor says he doesn't know what else to try. Oh and he was a little weird with the pain medicine. My Mom came with me and asked what I could do for the pain in the mean time since the Vicodin wasn't working so well. He gave me a script for Percocet (10 mg) but told me to flush the Vicodin down the toilet! Um what? I told him that I didn't have the Vicodin script filled because I was hoping that he would give me something that worked better. Then he asked me what pharmacy I used! He wasn't calling my script in so I know he was asking so he could call and make sure I didn't have anything filled. Can he do that? I mean I wouldn't take the two together (the percocet knocks me out!!) but he only gave me a month of the percocet until the procedure, so eventually I will need to the Vicodin (its not only for my back- I also have fibromyalgia pain). The Vicodin was prescribed by my GP and I have been on it for almost two years, I would like to keep some on hand for when the percocet runs out and I already had the prescription called in to the pharmacy in case he didn't give me anything so its ready (along with my BC Pill and blood pressure medicine). I guess what made me so mad about him telling me not to get it refilled and then asking for my pharmacy when he had already written a script for me was the indication or more to the point the accusation that was implied. He made me feel dirty for something I wouldn't even do! But if you have chronic pain and you take medicine for it don't you always have some in the medicine cabinet? Now I feel weird picking the script up because he made me feel weird and dirty- like I haven't even picked up the other meds either for my BP and BC Pill! Can he do that? Can he call the pharmacy and inquire about my scripts written from other doctors? Isn't that an invasion of my privacy? I guess I just still feel dirty and ashamed at the way he made me feel- even my Mom was uncomfortable and appalled by how he said it. I have enough trouble asking for pain meds and I try every procedure that anyone has told me has a shot of working and then I do ask for something and he makes me feel weird and ashamed. And like I said the Percocet is just for 1 month so I will need to get the refill anyway. See I am so ashamed and weirded out I am babbling LOL!
Well if anyone can help me with this or experiences on the procedure I would appreciate it a lot!
Dx'd: TMJ-1997; High Blood Pressure- 2007; Fibromyalgia- 2009; Raynaud's- 2009; Arthritis- 2010

Medications- Who can keep up? If its out there for what I have or might work to prevent pain for what I have then I have tried it. But actual pain relievers- not so easy to get in the Land of the Free.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15831
   Posted 1/26/2011 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sad, I bet the dr calls the pharmacy and tells them if you pick up the script for the Vicodin not to fill his script for the Perocet. Legally, yes he can do that too. Pain mgt drs are very strict about a patient getting pain meds from two drs at the same time. I know the vicodin script was before seeing him, but it is still considered getting two pain meds. If you try to fill it, he may ask the pharmacist to give him a call and you can bet that will be the last script for pain meds you will ever get from him and he could decide no to see you as a patient. He did tell you not to use the Vicodin. If you have read any of our posts here about PM drs one thing you will find is they are very strict about pain medications. It is getting harder and harder to get medication even from PM drs.

I have had the radio frequency nerve burning/ablation done. The first injection is actually a diagnostic block to see if they have hit the right spot and to see if you get relief. If you get relief then that would make you a good candidate for the radio frequency. I had both my neck and back done. My neck pain was pretty much eliminated totally for the first time in many years. It did not work as well for my low back. But, I would sure give it a try anyway by having the diagnostic block done. Its just one of those things that it may help you or me but someone else may not get any relief.

Good luck on your injections.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 1/26/2011 3:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear SST,

        Your pharmacist and specialist are allowed to speak with each other. When it comes to my "pain" medication for example.... My specialists writes 2 or 3 pages of prescription certificates for my pain medications to be refilled. Only 2 to 3 meds fit in each certificate. I drop those off at the pharmacy to keep on their records. When I do need another 30 days supply of my pain medications I call in pharmacy. They in turn still call my doctor for verification for each months supply even though I already have a back log of certificates. Even for the "simple" pain medications like my Baclofen. The " verification steps" to keeping my medications on schedule are because of requirements by my specialists, my pharmacist, Insurance carrier and state law. I am pretty sure it is that way with all of us. If not, something similar I am sure.

      Another thing to consider. The medication you take for pain have acetaminophen (APAP) mixed in them. Too much acetaminophen can do serious damage to your body. Recently, regulations were put into place to limit the amount of acetaminophen in the same medication you take. Just call the pharmacy and let them know you will not be needing the Vicoden afterall. Instead you have a different kind of pain medicine you will need filled. Because, once it is in your possession they cannot take them back due to safety reasons. Also... you might be in hot water with your specialist if you go against his orders.


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood

Chronic Pain Moderator

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 108
   Posted 1/26/2011 5:43 PM (GMT -6)   
I guess I missed something because I thought you wrote you told the dr that "you did not fill the vicodin" and then that you had it filled ahead of time with the other meds. Dani is right about all the acetaminophen in the meds as it is in the percocet and the vicodin. I do not know what strength you had of vicodin, but the percocet has at least 325 mg in each tablet. as does the vicodin. She also gave you an easy out by calling and putting the vicodin on hold for now. The script is good for at least 6 months, when you run out of percocet, call in and have the vicodin filled then.
As for the ablation, I had that done, and the initial test injection did give me some relief. When I went for the procedure, it did not offer me any relief. I talked about this with the PM anesth. that did it, and he said unforunately, the lidocaine was wonderful at numbing the site, and if he could find something that worked as well, but lasted for months he would be a bucket the size of CUBA, but it was not possible with the meds at his disposal. When I got home I read that the ablation could be repeated up to 3 times, and then it would not be recommended to do it again. I had two points done on my back, one I never felt the vibrations, etc I was supposed to feel prior to the injection, but he gave it anyway. The other he inserted the needle/probe, and I jumped two feet off the table. I apologized for jumping, and he apologized over and over for hurting me. I did not go back, as during this visit, I told him my PM dr at home was leaving town, and should I see him now for my meds . HIS reply: "I do not know anything about that, all I know is I am doing this procedure." He did not offer any suggestions. I know his office does do scripts, as both my visits to him (100 miles away) were interupted by a patient having trouble securing his meds the way he wanted them. Good luck with the ablation should you decide to do it, it could work for you. But just because the trial injection works , it does not mean the ablation will give the same relief. If you can afford the procedures, and have good insurance, it could be worth at try.

PM drs are difficut to come by, and it takes years to build a trusting relationship. Be very careful of violating that trust. Some PM only want to do procedures, some will do only medication management(few and far between for really good ones) and others do both.
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