Radiofrequency ablation for Upper/Mid Back Pain: Does it help?

Posted by dkapustin @dkapustin, Dec 26, 2018

I started going to Pain Management a few months ago for the chronic pain in my upper/mid back. I have an old compression fracture between T7 and T8 from a hard slip and fall, Osteoporosis, and Osteoarthritis. The doctor has scheduled an radiofrequency ablation tor that area and sounded hopeful that it would help. Has anyone had it done in that region and was it helpful? As an FYI, my Osteoporosis is being treated with Reclast and HRT….for now.

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I suffer from spondililosysthesis, facet joint syndrome, lumbar instability, interspinous bursit on L4-L5. I can't manage my pain and intense flare-ups with nerves pain medications and antyinfiammatories. Had 10 cortisone injections in one year. I asked my surgeon if it is worth it nerves ablation and he replied that is not the proper therapy, that it would not cure the underlying issue. I am now on a diet and on a waiting list for fusion surgery…Good luck!!

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TENS units versus BIO-WAVE units. Anyone tried the BIO-WAVE?

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I had an RFA performed about 6 weeks ago on my lower back. It didn't help, I think it made the pain a little worse.

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I had the ablation for SI Joint Pain. It has not solved the pain problem. The test injections were "successful" so I am surprised the Ablation has not been. The pain goes down as long as I don't move and stay in the reclined position. Have gained weight from no exercise. Casual walking actually seems to help. I can do some of the PT exercises not all. The knee to chest one is painful. I don't know what's next. Not depressed but disheartened yea that. It's hard to go to the doctor and tell him again about the pain "Month after Month". Just want it to stop and have some ability to do things, anything, I was very physically active before, the change is difficult to adjust to.

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I have degeneration and numerous facet joint problems at all levels of my thoracic spine and am having a radiofrequency ablation on Jan. 5, 2022 at T10-11. The two nerve blocks required to do the RFA worked for the time required. Please tell me someone has had successful relief from getting an ablation. I hate to go into this procedure without knowing it benefitted anyone. Thank you.

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@suzfuse46

I have degeneration and numerous facet joint problems at all levels of my thoracic spine and am having a radiofrequency ablation on Jan. 5, 2022 at T10-11. The two nerve blocks required to do the RFA worked for the time required. Please tell me someone has had successful relief from getting an ablation. I hate to go into this procedure without knowing it benefitted anyone. Thank you.

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I have had Radio on c4-c6 and L4-L6 (3 or 4 times each). They lasted from 2-3 years. But now I have two have them redone within two years for Medicare to pay and if past two years then you start all over again. That is with two facets first and then ok for Radio. This is new since the end of 2021. The ablation itself is not mad at all. The pain is gone and my ROM is so much better. I have had no problems but everyone is different but it has benefitted me. I hope this helps a little. My docs were great. Stay safe and healthy in the New Year. KLH

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@betterway

I had the ablation for SI Joint Pain. It has not solved the pain problem. The test injections were "successful" so I am surprised the Ablation has not been. The pain goes down as long as I don't move and stay in the reclined position. Have gained weight from no exercise. Casual walking actually seems to help. I can do some of the PT exercises not all. The knee to chest one is painful. I don't know what's next. Not depressed but disheartened yea that. It's hard to go to the doctor and tell him again about the pain "Month after Month". Just want it to stop and have some ability to do things, anything, I was very physically active before, the change is difficult to adjust to.

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Hi. I do not know if I can be of any help but my doc will not do Radio for the SI joints. I have selective nerve injections (both sides). They may last a year or maybe more. Radio lasts longer on my L4-L6. We usually do the procedures for both close together, a couple of weeks apart. Everyone has their own policy as to what they will perform or not do. I trust my doc that he knows what is best. Hope this helps. Happy New Year and stay safe and healthy. KLH

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@kilh

I have had Radio on c4-c6 and L4-L6 (3 or 4 times each). They lasted from 2-3 years. But now I have two have them redone within two years for Medicare to pay and if past two years then you start all over again. That is with two facets first and then ok for Radio. This is new since the end of 2021. The ablation itself is not mad at all. The pain is gone and my ROM is so much better. I have had no problems but everyone is different but it has benefitted me. I hope this helps a little. My docs were great. Stay safe and healthy in the New Year. KLH

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Thank you so very much for the information. It sure is good to hear a success story. I can't believe Medicare wastes so much money on the nerve blocks having to be redone when it has been proven that it helps. Another friend who has been having epidural steroid injections every three months for about 5 years is going to try RFA. It's a blessing for yours to last up to 3 years. I dearly hope that mine will work at all. Thanks again!

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@suzfuse46

Thank you so very much for the information. It sure is good to hear a success story. I can't believe Medicare wastes so much money on the nerve blocks having to be redone when it has been proven that it helps. Another friend who has been having epidural steroid injections every three months for about 5 years is going to try RFA. It's a blessing for yours to last up to 3 years. I dearly hope that mine will work at all. Thanks again!

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I am replying to myself to say that the radiofrequency ablations on Jan. 5 have reduced pain significantly at T10-T11. What a relief! It has been three days since the procedure and there is so much less pain in my thoracic spine and radiculopathy in ribs. So far so good and I'm hoping for sustained or even better relief.

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@kilh

Hi. I do not know if I can be of any help but my doc will not do Radio for the SI joints. I have selective nerve injections (both sides). They may last a year or maybe more. Radio lasts longer on my L4-L6. We usually do the procedures for both close together, a couple of weeks apart. Everyone has their own policy as to what they will perform or not do. I trust my doc that he knows what is best. Hope this helps. Happy New Year and stay safe and healthy. KLH

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Can I please ask what are selective nerve injections? I’m looking for relief in my SI joints. Have had this for 3+ years. My ortho is now sending me to a spine specialist this week.

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@dappy

Can I please ask what are selective nerve injections? I’m looking for relief in my SI joints. Have had this for 3+ years. My ortho is now sending me to a spine specialist this week.

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Hello, This is Suzfue46. I had radiofrequency ablations (also known as radiofrequency lesions or radiofrequency cauterizing) where an electrical current is past from the tip of the needle to nerves where the irritation is occurring. Mine were targeted at T10-T11. It disables the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. I understand that the nerves eventually (in 6 months to 2 years) grow back and will need a further RFA. I did have a RFA on my S.I. joints which didn't help much. Every one is different so give it a try for a chance at relief if your doctor thinks it may help.

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@suzfuse46

I am replying to myself to say that the radiofrequency ablations on Jan. 5 have reduced pain significantly at T10-T11. What a relief! It has been three days since the procedure and there is so much less pain in my thoracic spine and radiculopathy in ribs. So far so good and I'm hoping for sustained or even better relief.

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That’s great to hear . I have really severe spine issues (myelopathy , spinal stenosis , etc . I had the ablation done on my hip a few months ago ; it really seemed to help . However I had it done on C5-C6 years ago and I was in worse pain for several weeks as the irritated nerves had to die down .

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