Today I receive my very first Facet Joint Radiofrequency Ablation (FJRA). I have already received both pretest injections which determined if I was a candidate for the FJRA. Below is the actual process for me:
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) stops pain signals from reaching the brain by burning the nerve endings responsible for your pain. RFA uses radiofrequency waves, similar to microwaves, to heat up the targeted nerves and render them unable to conduct pain signals. It is in a fashion like disabling an alarm system- once those nerve endings no longer exist, they can no longer send pain signals to your brain. The arthritis is still there but you can’t feel it. It’s important to note that before RFA can be performed we must perform diagnostic medial branch blocks as a test to make sure that you are a good candidate for the RFA. These medial branch blocks are temporary diagnostic injections, which serve only as a test. These blocks are performed using X-ray guidance and a mixture of Lidocaine and Marcaine- a short and long active anesthetic. X-ray contrast is used to ensure proper needle placement. Please notify our staff if you have a contrast allergy so that we can call in the necessary prep prior to your scheduled procedure. Insurance companies require these blocks to be performed before they will authorize RFA to be performed. In most cases, the blocks have to be done twice and a pain diary is completed after each set of blocks. This completed pain diary ultimately becomes part of your chart and helps to guide treatment.
The main advantage of RFA treatments is that they typically last for a long time. Yes, your nerve endings eventually grow back, but they regenerate quite slowly. Thus, pain relief from RFA lasts for a year on average; however, regeneration time varies from patient to patient. This is why both patients and doctors love RFA — it provides long-term pain relief. Please note- If you have a pacemaker or your spine is unstable then RFA is not an option for you.
You can read the article to get more information about the entire process.
I am having the procedure done on my lumbar spine starting today. I have been in extreme pain for years now with Degenerative Joint Arthritis, which continually got worse over the years. I have needed the assistance of a walking cane for about a year now.
I went to the VA and asked them to relieve my pain, and I left with a cane.
No, nothing was done for my pain. The entire complexity of this entire situation will be revealed in future posts.
I have gone through so many different unnecessary and totally stupid experiences to get to the point where I am now finally receiving proper care for my chronic pain. I really believe certain members of the VA Medical Profession thought I was lying about my pain as well as my not wanting to be treated with no form of opioids. Again, more to follow on this topic in future posts. The opioid situation turned out to be a major issue between me and the VA Pain Management Clinic.
My procedure is being done through Willis Knighton Bossier. I don’t know exactly how long it’ll take post-procedure for me to start noticing a difference, but I will most definitely give you an update in the next day or two. I will even go back and fill you in on the long journey to get to this point.
Be on the lookout for updates.