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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2000
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    973

    Default rhizotomy for nerve damage in lower back?

    I know having a bad back isn't *really* a disability, but some days it can sure feel like it. There is no way I'll ever have actual back surgery unless I'm dragged there kicking and screaming, but a few people I know who work in the area of spines and neurology have tossed out the term "rhizotomy" to me as a possible option. I've got a bulging disc and nerve damage. I've Googled the term, and it still sounds scary to me, although the people I know who *perform* rhizotomies claim it's easy and painless, minimally invansive, leaves the patient pain-free, yadda yadda... Has anyone here *had* a rhizotomy or know anyone who has? Some days, I've got to say, the idea of getting myself "nerved" sounds really good...
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    6,433

    Default

    I had radio frequency lesioning (RFL) on 2 nerves in my back (at L2 and L3.) I believe that it is similar to a rhizotomy. (At least according to this book, which I found enormously helpful by the way http://www.amazon.com/Goodbye-Back-P...1339704&sr=1-1)

    I had a ruptured disc and a bulging disc which they had identified by an MRI, but the underlying condition was spinal instability caused by spondylolithesis (a slipped vertebra) and scolliosis. Needless to say, I have a lot of stenosis from arthritis as well.

    It was a long process in the Pain Managment clinic to identify the nerve branches that had to be lesioned. I went 3-4 times over a period of several months and had depo-medrol epidural injections so they could find out where to lesion the nerves. They did this under an x-ray flouroscope so they could see exactly what they were doing. It was kind of a nuisance because I was not allowed to drive home afterward and I live about 25 miles from the hospital.

    At long last they did the RFL. It worked great for about 15-16 months. No pain at all! Then the nerve grew back and it was worse than ever for a while. I have been told that I can have it done again if I want to, but most of my pain comes from arthritis now--the disks have shrunk and aren't really causing the problem. I am managing the pain with ibuprofen and exercise and don't really want to go through the whole process again unless and until there is no alternative. If I couldn't take ibuprofen, I would do it again in a minute.

    I hope this helps.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Posts
    22,455

    Default

    I had it done in November.

    Went fox hunting a week later, though I was still bruised.

    Will not hesitate to have it done again.

    PM me if you would like to chat privately.



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