Rhizotomy, Meralgia Paraestheticas–Back and leg pain
Now there are some who would say I should not divulge details about health issues I have endured. Privacy. HIPAA and all that. Employers or clients scouring to see what kind of a health risk I might be. But I take a different view. There are lessons to be learned from what I have been enduring the past six months and 24 days now and sharing them is helping others.
Today, Nov. 30, 2016, I had a rhizotomy (pronounced “Rye-zotomee”) performed on nerves in my lower right lumbar facet nerves. Essentially my pain doctor went in and cauterized the nerve endings that have been telling my brain I’m in significant pain following a chiropractic treatment in Mesquite, Texas on May 6 by a man who didn’t have a license issued to him until 14 days after he first treated me. (More about that in days to come.)
As of 11 p.m. the pain in my right leg, my doc did my right side today and in two weeks will do my left, the pain is greatly reduced.
I have chosen to share about the rhizotomy treatment because I basically found almost nothing about it online beforehand.
Before this, a month ago today, my doctor did a very painful procedure where I remained awake and he put a probe into my hip trying to find my Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve, LFCN for short, and put pain killer in the nerves in both sides of my hip. A warning about this. When we got home that morning I took five steps from Dad’s car and my legs gave out from underneath me and I fell square on my bottom. The discharge information says to have someone assist you while walking, but they didn’t do enough to emphasize you won’t be able to walk the rest of the day. I fell twice that day. It was thought that I might have meralgia paraestheticas up until I didn’t respond well to the injections that day, and following a less than pleasant EMG the next week, where a neurologist stuck fine needles into my thighs and then ran electrical current through them.
Two weeks after the LFCN injections, we did nerve blocks on the nerves that got cauterized today. The relief was about 10-12 hours and then BAM! I hurt again.
The rhizotomy, so far, has seemed to help significantly. Like I said, in two weeks we do it all again, this time my doctor is going to address nerves on the left side of my lumbar facets.
My nurses said it was going to feel like a sunburn burn in the muscles of my back. I don’t exactly have that yet. I have been icing on and off throughout the day. My doctor said I could take ibuprofen tomorrow. Not today though. He said the discomfort, (doctors don’t say the word “Pain,” they say discomfort) would feel like I’d been doing yard work and I had a sore back. I suppose tomorrow will tell me more about that.
The procedure took about 45 minutes today. There’s a doc in the room making sure the doc frying my nerves doesn’t hit a motor nerve, just the sensory nerves that are supposedly causing the pain.
So far, since May 6, 2016, I have had a three-level laminectomy of my S1/L5, L5/L4, and L4/L3 vertebrae, had a ventral hernia repaired, had the LFCN injections, an EMG, had the lower lumbar facet nerve blocks, and then today’s rhizotomy. I’ve also had two MRIs, a CT scan, and a wonderful experience where I drank nuclear stuff while standing in front of a real-time x-ray machine. That and I’m still in pain. The hernia needed repair beforehand, but my spine doctor worried about doing more surgery on my back before having it fixed.
I have had six doctors work on me in this time period and I have had five treatment plans, including physical therapy. There have been times of late when I’ve been in so much pain I wanted to go to the ER, but chose not to because then I would have had a seventh doctor and six treatment plans.
Over the past six months I’ve had a range of meds, most of them did not work. First was hydrocodone, then the strength got increased. Flexeril, but I was taken off of it because I have nerve pain, Flexeril is a muscle relaxer. I’ve been on Lyrica. It did nothing. I’ve been on Cymbalta. Nothing. I’ve been on more hydrocodone, the 10/325 kind. Nothing. The EMG doctor put me on Tegretol. It made me tired and gave me bad headaches. I came off of that, too. Regrettably the only thing that has actually worked to reduce pain has been Fentanyl patches and Percocet. Both opioids. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine. Even with them, I’ve still been in pain. My “give a damn,” has just been reduced about the pain.
Tonight, my right leg feels much better than it has in months. It didn’t even start hurting until the day after my back surgery on Aug. 11. Up until then, my left leg had been the only one in pain. After surgery, that stopped for a while, then I had, and have kept the pain, in both legs.
I’m hoping and praying the rhizotomies work. If not, the next action is for them to install a wire along my spinal cord and attach it to a device that keeps pain signals from getting to my brain. Not really a solution, meaning what ever is causing the pain, can’t seem to be stopped.
My doctor says the rhizotomy could last from six months to six years. Internet sites say two months to 24 months. It will be frustrating to see which is more accurate.
There’s not a lot of information about having a rhizotomy on one’s lower back on the Net. If you’re needing one or about to have one, I hope this helps. I received another comment today from someone who found my post about ventral hernias helpful. I hope this is the same.