Who's has Spinal Denervation procedures?

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CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 617
   Posted 2/4/2012 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Gang,
 
I'm just wondering how many of you have gone through a spinal denervation procedure.  I've had my lumbar facet joints done bilaterally (S1, L4, & L5) several times now, and I'm wondering if my experience is similar to what other people have to endure.  I have to travel out of town to the closest pain management center, at the University of VA Hospital, which is a teaching hospital.  I have trouble getting a decent continuity of care because of the constant rotation of new student doctors, and they always want to make me go through the test procedue to 'verify' that the procedure will work.  I know it works, and the redundancy for the students' benefit seems to me to be unnecessary punishment, not to mention unneeded expense.  Does anyone else have this problem?
 
Also, I have to undergo the procedure with absolutely no medication, anesthesia, or anything to make the procedure and pain somewhat more tolerable.  Burning off the nerve endings is a pretty barbaric procedure, and since locating the proper joint location is done via a fluoroscope, I don't know why they need to hear me scream to know they have hit the right spot.  Due to them dragging their feet over the last several months, my back was in far worse shape when I went in for the procedure last week.  I had to stop 1/3 way thru the procedure because the pain was so great I was passing out.  Thus, my back is still in back shape, and I know that my return visit is going to be a complete nightmare.  I'm curious as to whether or not this is standard practice for this procedure, or do the rest of you get some sort of anesthesia, sedation, etc... in order to make things more bareable.  Any feedback would be appreciated.
 
Thanks,
Leigh Ann cool

•On Disability for: Chronic Migraines, serious Back and Knee problems (will need surgery eventually), moderate Depression, Anxiety/Panic disorder, TMJ, stomach problems
•Divorced, 46, spawn-free

"THE WEATHER IS HERE, I WISH YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL." -Jimmy Buffett

straydog
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 2/4/2012 9:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cranky, yes many of us have had these procedures done and I have to agree with you, its barbaric to make a patient do these without at least light sedation. Most PM drs will do diagnostic blocks prior to doing the nerve ablation for two reasons, to see how you respond to the block and to make sure they are at the correct level where the pain is coming from. This was how it was explained to me by my PM dr. My PM dr did medical branch blocks on me prior to the RF. There are different names for the nerve ablations but they are pretty much the same procedure, burning the nerve endings. As far as sedation goes from what I have read here at the forum, some drs will give sedation and some don't, depends on the dr. For those that do not use it, I think they should have to have it done to see how it feels. If my dr did not use sedation then 45 minutes before having anything done, I would be taking my pain meds plus a muscles relaxer. Anything to help get the edge off.

Sorry to hear you are feeling so bad. Take care.
Moderator-Chronic Pain Forum

CRANKY 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 617
   Posted 2/4/2012 11:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Straydog,
 
Thanks for the reply.  I understand the need for doing the testing procedure the first time, but do you think it needs to be redone over and over again before the actual procedure, especially if the procedure has proved to be successful before?  Just curious.  I'm going to try to store up some extra pain meds before I go back for the rest of my denervation, since the last one was the worst one to date.  I don't give a rip if the "student" doctor learns anything or not.  I'm sick of being a guinea pig.
 
Leigh Ann cool
•On Disability for: Chronic Migraines, serious Back and Knee problems (will need surgery eventually), moderate Depression, Anxiety/Panic disorder, TMJ, stomach problems
•Divorced, 46, spawn-free

"THE WEATHER IS HERE, I WISH YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL." -Jimmy Buffett

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 2/5/2012 4:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Leigh Ann, the only reasonable thing I can think of with the repeated diagnostic blocks is for one thing I would not expect a dr to remember where he injected me from time to the next time. Even more so if its a situation like yours not seeing the same person all the time. I want to be stuck only in the area that needs it too, not multiple spots done trying to find the trouble spot. I hate needles with a passion and give myself shots but still hate them, lol. Also it would depend on how frequent the procedures are being done too.

But the flip side is, I would not agree to having the procedure done unless I was given light sedation. I don't care how much it may help me, I don't need more pain, lol. I think its criminal of drs doing these types of procedures on patients and not providing adequate pain control during the process. I have always been able to talk to my dr and answer his questions with light sedation. When he did my lower back he hit a spot that nearly brought me up and off of the table, the pain was so great I got sick at my stomach. I saw every color in the rainbow flash in front of my eyes too.

I know you say the teaching hospital is your closet place for you to go. However, in the post called CP101 above, I have listed 4 organizations that have access to information about PM drs across the country. You may want to check them out to see if there are any new PM drs close to where you live.

Good luck on your next appt.
Moderator-Chronic Pain Forum

Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 2/6/2012 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow, what a horrible situation!!! I'm so sorry for you to have to go through this "testing" thing over and over!!! I don't get much (if any) relief from the small amount of pain meds they give me before the RFA and I can honestly say that my blood pressure goes through the roof with the pain. Yes, I am one who moans and litterally give the gutteral screams when they are doing the procedure. They had to stop one of mine too because the pain was too much, but I made the Dr promise to finish no matter how much I yelled when he did it the last time.

I know how painful it is and I know it WORKS for me. Unfortunately, this last one didn't do what I wanted or needed like it should have and didn't last like it should have. I have another scheduled at the end of March and, despite the horrible pain, am looking forward to the relief that comes for me about 3 weeks after I have it done.

I'm afraid I would have to find me someone new for this in your case. I know teaching hosipital are supposed to be excellent and I understand they have really good care most of the time, but I don't think any of the students would appreciate having an icepick stuck in their back over and over with electricity connected to it :) That's what it feels like to me to have an ablation.

I hope you have success on this and find some relief during your treatment!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet, Vision Issues & much more.....
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