Rhizotomy: How to prepare physically and mentally?

Posted by heatherm @heatherm, Aug 15, 2020

My symptoms and MRI show both a disk bulge and another disk degeneration that have caused increasing nerve pain mainly down one leg over about 3 years. injections in the past have not helped, and consistent physio, exercise, and medication are the only things that have really kept me mobile. Symptoms are intensifying and I have waited 9 months (Canadian medical system) to finally be scheduled for a Rhizotomy. The initial test for this, which I received over 9 months ago was incredibly painful, and I’m experiencing some worry and anxiety about this rhizotomy. I will advocate for myself as much as possible with the medical people, but I’m looking for suggestions on how to prepare physically and mentally for this (3 days away). What are other people’s experience with this?

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Best to get a professional explanation, but basically, a needle is injected to the nerves in the spine and they are cauterized (with laser?) to cut off the nerve impulses and pain to affected limbs. It is usually temporary as nerves regenerate. In my case, my L5-S1, L4-5, and L3-4 are affected by disk bulges, and/or nerve degeneration. I haven’t been feeling great since the rhizotomy, it I’m hopeful it’ll give me back walking long distances with no pain.


Can I ask what is a rhizotomy and what is it supposed to help or cure? I have horrendous “sciatica”!with S1 nerve and am almost totally bedridden from the pain on right side butt hamstring both calves and bottom of both feet. I walk about 15 min a day and then I have to go to bed and cry from pain. Thanks god for my wonderful husband. And thank you for taking the time to share.

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@bustrbrwn22 It sounds like to me that you need a fusion surgery. You should not be walking if it causes that much pain. I had pain similar to yours. Pain in my but and hip, sciatica down my leg and right foot. I had a 9 hour fusion done at Mayo Rochester. I also had stenosis in my L-4 and L5, which my surgeon fixed. My surgeon had to go from T-10 to my pelvis. I'm in a brace now and hardly have any pain. Have some pain when the brace is off. I can take it off when I lay down. It will be only 3 month on Sept. 9th. I walk 1/4 to 1/2 mile in several walks. I am so happy with the results. I had pain when I got home, but feel better now.


Rhizotomy didn't improve my problems, so now my surgeon has me on his priority elective list for a spinal fusion of L-3,4,5 and possible S1 I'm reluctant to go this route but I seem to have run out of options. The wait could be 3-6 months best case scenario, or up to a year. (depending on how the pandemic goes). So, I have no choice but to maintain my mobility and fitness as best I can .

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