Low Back Pain - Alternating Injections & Ablations

Posted by ashby1947 @ashby1947, Jul 14 12:15pm

Whoever is reading this – I hope you're having a good day! LIke many of you, my days are affected by chronic back pain. I have degenerative osteoarthritis, foraminal stenosis, lumbar scoilosis, etc. I am at the point where I have accepted my pain mgmt doc's advice and will be utilizing alternating facet joint injections and radiofrequency ablations. I am 73 yo, 115 lbs, exercise 4-5x/wk. I no longer walk for pleasure, sigh. When treatments wear off, pain is pretty tough. I have Tramadol, but do not use unless unbearable. Sleeping is significantly affected when in pain. Are any of you at the point of alternating treatments like this? I am okay with it – my quality of life is just too greatly affected not to proceed, and the back will only get worse. Your comments, your suggestions, your thoughts? Thank you, Sue

@ashby1947 Your symtoms sound just like mine before I had surgery. I had pain meds, PT, Exercise at the Y, even tried Yoga and swimming and still had more pain. I had an ablation, it helped, but only for a short time. I had injections by my pain doctor.
My doctor finally referred me to Mayo in Rochester, MN I saw a pain doctor, neurologist, for my headaches, and a surgeon, which told me I could have surgery, but I had to go through some instructions before I could have the surgery, one was I had to off my hydrocodone, which I had no trouble doing. I had pain in my buttocks and down my rt leg. I had to see endocrinologist to get on something to strengthen my bones. It took 3 months to get into the endocrinologist and he put me on Tymlos, an injection with a tiny needle into my stomach every day. I had to use it for 6 weeks before I could have surgery and then the Covid-19 came and they were not doing any kind of my surgeries. It wasn't to long till they opened up to do my surgery. I had to go through a whole bunch of tests. The surgeon told me he only had to go through the back and not my front too.
Finally after a year I had my surgery last month. It was a big surgery for degeneration which caused a scoliosis, my L-4 and 5 to my S-1 had stenosis. My surgery started at T-10 to my pelvis. I was in the hospital 7 days because I had some complications, but nothing serious. It sounds like to me that you need surgery, but that's just my opinion, I'm not a doctor. I have to wear a brace when I'm up or sitting and can take it off when I lay down. I cannot bend, twist, or lift any thing heavy. I need to be careful, because my bones are soft and I could pull out a screw or break a rod. My husband helps me a lot. There's not much I can do, but I'm only a little over a month since the surgery. I will be better by 3 months, but it does take a year to totally heal. I'm still on Tymlos and may be for 2 years, because of my soft bones. I have less pain now. I was on Oxycodone, but got off of it yesterday. I take Tramadol now, but the surgeon wants me off of that too. But I sent him a message saying I don't think I can get off of Tramadol yet. I woke up with a lot of pain this morning. You have been through so much. I don't know where you live, but Mayo Clinics are great. I had the best surgeon. He told my husband I must have been in a lot of pain, because I had nerves (stenosis) being pinched. My surgery was 9 hours long. I hope this helps and not scare you. My thoughts and prayers will be sent your way.

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I feel my back problems mirror yours. Was walking 2-3 miles daily plus golf every other day. I’m 80 years. I take Tramadol in the AM & Meloxicam at bedtime. Will take Oxycodone before golf. After golf it’s a bit brutal. I stretch all the time before & after. I plan to do this routine but it seems to be gradually closing down. Your ablation effect would interest me

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Hi rog – Radiofrequency ablation was a very effective procedure for me. Performed much like a facet joint injection, which if you haven't tried, I recommend. Injection lasted about 6 weeks, but relief. blessed relief. Ablation lasted about 3 months. Each procedure required being prone on table, light sedation, necessity for a driver. No after effects, no residual pain. Some people get longer relief, I am told. My son's ablation has lasted years. I kept hoping that I would come across something that would "fix me forever"….. Well, that's not going to happen, and now I am planning on how to time my procedures to avoid the pain. I have not been a fan of Tramadol, even taking it with an anti-nausea drug. You obviously have had success. Any secrets? or did you just get used to it? Exercise is key, and congrats to you for still playing golf. Some days, I make it a point to lie on the floor and get up a couple of times, just to make sure I can still do it! What kind of pain do you have at night, and does anything help? Hope you are well this day. Sue

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Greetings Sue – your ablation comments are helpful. The Tramadol & Oxycodone produce no side effects for me. But I drink a lot of H2O & Zero Gatorade to keep hydrated. At night the discomfort is either a sciatica, feet or muscle tightness that just seems to happen. It’s not unusual then for me to stretch in the middle of the night on the floor 30-40 minutes. The stretching seems to help. It’s my daily routine 2-3 times a day. It seems like I have to keep pushing forward. Just resting for a couple of days doesn’t help the discomfort. I will be pursuing the ablation treatment. Thanks for your input

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Hello all,
I’m 74. General pain is similar. Had L4 and L5 fusion in 2007..but screw was was misplaced,. Had to have screw removed a few months after. Pain continued L side; albeit abated a little. Have terrific pain these days,. Dx spinal stenosis. Osteopenia. Rx Hydrocodone 325 mg, napraxon, etc. Pain thru Rt. leg and down to foot. Outpt Surg scheduled next week. I have been having PT for several years. I think what isn’t mentioned in this thread is the psychological effect of long term pain. That in itself is debilitating coupled with mortality issues in the aging process and current COVID-19 insecurities.

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@kilikina

Hello all,
I’m 74. General pain is similar. Had L4 and L5 fusion in 2007..but screw was was misplaced,. Had to have screw removed a few months after. Pain continued L side; albeit abated a little. Have terrific pain these days,. Dx spinal stenosis. Osteopenia. Rx Hydrocodone 325 mg, napraxon, etc. Pain thru Rt. leg and down to foot. Outpt Surg scheduled next week. I have been having PT for several years. I think what isn’t mentioned in this thread is the psychological effect of long term pain. That in itself is debilitating coupled with mortality issues in the aging process and current COVID-19 insecurities.

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@kilikina I hope the out patient surgery helps. It sounds like to me you are having stenosis (your nerves are being impinged) I had the same problem, my pain started at my buttock down to my foot. Had surgery on June 9th. It was a fusion and took 9 hours to fix. I had degeneration which caused a scoliosis, but the main problem was my L-4 & 5 nerves were impinged. The surgeon had to clear out what was impinding (sp) He had to start at T-10 to my pelvis. It was a big surgery. I am now recovering and walking. Can''t bend, twist or lift any thing heavy. My husband has to do a lot that I did, but can't do now. Had to give up my healthy 14 year old dog to where we boarded her. They wanted her and love her. I miss her very much, but can not take care of her.
I did every thing to try and help, PT, exercise,gentle yoga, and a swim class. Nothing helped but more pain and epidurals.
I'm not a doctor so you need to see a surgeon that has experience in this problem. My surgeon had many qualifications. I had my surgery done at Mayo hospital at Rochester, MN. I don't know where you live, but does sound like you are getting help, I hope it will take your pain away. Forgot, my bones are soft so I have to be careful so I don't pull out a screw or rod. I am on Tymlos and injection with a very small needle into my stomach to increase my bone mass. You are lucky to be on pain medicine, so many can't get any pain meds.

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@ashby1947 and others, I ran across a Mayo Clinic Newsfeed article that I thought might be helpful for some.

Low Back Pain and the Practice of Mindfulness: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/mindfulness-in-health/newsfeed-post/7-mindfulness-low-back-pain/

Here's another one that is just a list of tips — Tips for Managing Back Pain: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/-/media/national-files/documents/hometown-health/2019/back-pain-infographic.pdf

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Hi Sue, I am 77 years old and I have the back pain pretty bad at times, especially in the morning. I do work out with weights one day and walk the next day. My pain is getting worse but I haven't seen a doctor about it yet. It is definitely worse in the morning when I get out of bed. Any suggestions?

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Is the pain general or have specific ages

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Hi, I'm 88 and spine surgeon says no surgery for me. I have gone to pain management for injections and they last for months. I stay away from the prescription drugs. I take Tylenol-PM at night and Advil during the day. I have to do a little and then hit the couch in-between chores. Lying down or sitting helps me. I have just been diagnosed with carpel tunnel and it's giving me a hard time. Pain and no strength.

Liked by lioness

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Hi I’m 75 and have severe stenosis is what my mri shows plus I have a bad curve right at my waist band where my pants are at I’m not going through surgery because I have COPD so now I’m going to try pain clinic again it’s been 10 yrs since I’ve been cause I just kinda gave up on them but here I go again hoping they have anything new they can do for me I am pain all day but thank God when I lay down the pain stops … was wondering what the albations mean ? I do take 33 mg tramadol and Tylenol plus Mexicam and muscle relaxers

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@jfsherley

Hi I’m 75 and have severe stenosis is what my mri shows plus I have a bad curve right at my waist band where my pants are at I’m not going through surgery because I have COPD so now I’m going to try pain clinic again it’s been 10 yrs since I’ve been cause I just kinda gave up on them but here I go again hoping they have anything new they can do for me I am pain all day but thank God when I lay down the pain stops … was wondering what the albations mean ? I do take 33 mg tramadol and Tylenol plus Mexicam and muscle relaxers

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@jfsherley here is some information from Mayo Clinic that explains ablation.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/adult-pain-medicine/tab/radiofrequency/

Liked by migizii

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Hello,
I have scoliosis in my lower back and must rest at least every hour after being on my feet. The pain is significant and not relieved by anything but rest. One thing that seems to help is CBD oil. The medical kind is too pricey for me so I buy the strongest available at my co-op. Also, I take Clonazipan at bedtime. Good luck finding solutions for your condition. You have lots of company!

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@1948springer

Hi Sue, I am 77 years old and I have the back pain pretty bad at times, especially in the morning. I do work out with weights one day and walk the next day. My pain is getting worse but I haven't seen a doctor about it yet. It is definitely worse in the morning when I get out of bed. Any suggestions?

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Greetings, Bill. I would definitely suggest seeing a doctor – your back pain is not going to improve by itself. I suggest starting with your primary care doc and s/he can evaluate you and make an appropriate referral. There are lots of docs who treat "back pain", and you will want to study and prepare yourself before you start talking with anyone. Learn as much about your back as possible and research your specific issues. If you don't have a medical background, just start with basics. You will want to be able to be as knowledgeable as possible as you talk with a doc. For years I was able to manage my pain with exercises, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. I avoided an orthopedic surgeon because I knew they would (most likely) talk about surgery. It's what they do, after all. my problems have progressed to the point where I need pain mgmt. My back will not improve, so it's about quality of life. After an evaluation, get a referral to a good Physical Therapist. S/he can give you exercises and make suggestions about sleeping positions. Let me know what you decide and how you are doing. Good luck! Sue

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Hi, I too have most of what you do. First, when the pain starts I sit down and rest for a bit. If I can’t do that, I find a stable surface higher than my hands can reach, then stretch enough to reach it and “hang” for just a minute. That really gets to the scoliosis. Consider installing a doorway chin-up bar to do this several times a day. I can’t take opioids so I use lidocaine patches and a tens unit when all else fails. Good luck, and let me know if any of this helps!

Liked by migizii

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