Pain Concern
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Pulsed Radio-frequency De-nervation

Members may already know from my other "Pain" posts that I had an appointment for a procedure called "Pulsed Radio-frequency De-nervation" - an attempt to control or eliminate my rather high-level Sciatic pain of the last 12 months.  This follows on from a Facet Joint pain killing injection done about 5 months back, the effects of which gave me around 3 months relatively pain free.

So yesterday, April 21 (my 43rd. wedding anniversary !) I attended at my local Hospital's surgical "Day Centre" for the PRD under the UK's NHS (National Health Service), free of cost at the point of delivery.

Members of a sensitive disposition should stop reading now.


I had to lie face down on the operating table, fully conscious, as during the procedure I had to be able to give verbal responses, presumably during the insertion, aligning, and use, of whatever probe delivers the electrical pulses.

These pulses, as I understand it, tell the pain-transmitting nerves to stop doing so. But the operating doctor must not affect any motor nerves - or no walkies for Dan for a while !

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is my highest imaginable pain level, I'd put parts of the procedure at near 8.  I was shouting in pain a few times during the procedure, and shivering at the end of it.  Alas I am 73 thus my age probably contributed to this painful aspect of the procedure.

Afterwards I was put in the day-surgery's recovery room and given sandwiches and coffee which helped calm me down, but it was some time before I felt able to leave for home in a taxi, (no driving they said).  A briefing before leaving told me to take things easy for a few days.  However I should not sit around the house or lie in bed all day, but try some gentle walking.  Happily I can attend my regular Buddhist meditation tomorrow, Saturday.

Today after having slept well and painlessly I now feel encouraged to share my experience with you all and invite comments  or comparisons especially from any member who has had the same procedure.

Outcome ? - very positive; it has been a long time since I was as free as I am now of chronic pain. I am told the effect can last from 6 months to possibly as much as a year - after that the final medical intervention seems to be that of a "Spinal De-compression"


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Encouraging to me. Have undergone nerve block and facet joint injections. It's only been 5 days but the result has been remarkable.  I hope it lasts for a while but would love a longer term solution which I believe would be ablation. Is this what you had?


Don't know - it may also be an alternate name for the procedure I call "Spinal Decompression".  My Consultant says that is the last best hope to get a semi-permanent result.

When I had your nerve block/facet joint injection it also gave me more or less instant relief at about 80%, and lasted 3 months.


I don't know whether I am over anxious/paranoid but felt twinges today. It's been such a slog to get this far I hope it lasts for at least 3 months. Of course I am using muscles that had become increasingly redundant so they may now be having to do some work. Good luck to you anyway.


I always had some residual pain - I'd put my relief at around 80%, so the injections were not a complete cure; and I could get more pain if very tired.

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Hello,  I had written a long reply but where it's gone I do not know!

The gist of my reply was that, yes I've had this procedure which didn't work as apparently the Consultant found, at the time, that my spine is slightly bent and therefore couldn't finish the procedure!

All other previous injections etc didn't work for longer then 2 weeks.

I was told that there is nothing more they could do and I would have to just live with the constant pain and very limited mobility. I am on quite a few drugs to help with pain. Dread to think what I would be like without them.

I am so pleased to hear that you have had a positive outcome and trust it will continue for some time.

Wishing you all the best for the future. 


I'd seek a second opinion from  a Consultant, privately if you can bear the cost of a discussion which I'd put at somewhere around £150 for your first visit.  Much more if he wants to do tests or scans.  E.g. a private CT scan can be £1200.


Hi Dan, I've had the same procedure on various levels now and it feels like a mini miracle to me! Only 3 weeks post procedure but I can hardly believe it! I'm still in pain but so much has been removed after nearly 20 years!  It seems to me that you suffered more and perhaps unnecessarily so as I was barely aware of what went on but as you say, perhaps they didn't want to give you too much anaesthetic ... Glad to hear you share this positive treatment - I expect a lot depends on the skill of the surgeon tho...

Best wishes 😀🍀


It is now one week since my PRFD, and I still have some discomfort when waking in the mornings, usually early around 6 am.   I am trying to take myself off the opiate drugs I have been on for so long.  If I discontinue the Zomorph my constipation gets better but I think I may have withdrawal symptoms - any comments please ?


Hi I had this done in February with very little relief. Glad it worked for you. And yes it is very painfulI!! I am having more in July. At the moment I'm on Butrans, Amitriptyline and they have started me on Tramadol plus over the counter pain relief. And i am still in a lot of pain. I am a Mental Health Nurse and working while in constant pain and on so many meds is a struggle. Fingers crossed it works next time. It's encouraging that it has worked for so many. Wishing you all a pain free life. 💉💊😀


I have successfully used 30mg. x 2pd. for my sciatic pain, but after the PRFD I'm down to one 10mg. Zomorph pd.


Tramadol, pills or slo-release, did not work for me.  And over-the-counter Paracetamol was no use whatever. Nor was Co-codamol, or even Solpadol.

Breakthru pain was handled by 15mg. Codeine, and I usually needed 1 or 2 pd. 

Of course that worked for me - it may/or-not suit you.

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Hi just wondering how you are doing today? I'm thinking this is the same procedure I am being offered I usually have facet joint inj have had themnfor the past 20 years now they're on eabout doing radiofruequency where they burn the nerve endings tontry get menlonger relief up to 2 years they say the procedure you describe is also very similar to the facet he inj too Lay down the same and have to stay awake so I am thinking this is the same im in the UK .Doesnit sound similar to you please burning the nerve endings ?In the odd occasion I have been offered air and gas which helps loads but not everytime hoping I can have some for this procedure too .Many thanks Tina x


Alas it did little for me - the promise was up to 7 months relief from my rather intense sciatica, but in reality there was only a little relief immediately after the procedure. But that is only my personal experience - it IS supposed to work.

I went back to asking for another nerve block + facet joint injection, but before that could be done some months later my sciatic pain eventually just melted away over a few weeks and I was able to give up on the Zomorph, Tramadol, Lyrica, and Codeine I had needed to control the pain; and I now just use the occasional Cocodamol.

I have no idea, nor have the medics, why this has happened.


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