Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Peripheral neurostimulator therapy

Following my first nerve block, my consultant decided that I needed something different to hopefully get a better response.
Through discussions with other neurosurgeons he found out about peripheral neurostimulator therapy, sometimes known as pulsed radiofrequency (PRF). This is where a probe that is attached to a TENS like machine, is positioned on the nerve and turned up to a frequency that can be felt but is bearable. This is meant to re-educate the nerve into not registering any pain and it can stop the ON pain for up to 9 months.

For me, as before, I was prepped for the procedure much like you are for any operation. I entered the surgical theatre knowing I would not be sedated, as it lasts up to half an hour.
After being positioned on the table, and marking the point of most pain at the back of my head, I was injected with local anaesthetic. Then the needle/probe was poked through this mark...there was so much intense pressure and pushing at this point, it was almost unbearable! Once it was in place there was less pain and the probe was connected to the machine, after i was 'earthed' by a pad being attached to my arm. The machine was then turned on low for me to check that I could feel it! It was the oddest feeling...something tapping inside your head! But it was strangely soothing! Then the frequency and timer was set on the machine and that was it! I was then free to chat to the nurse who had been holding my hand and letting me squeeze it ever since the beginning. I was able to feel 'normal', well as much as you can lying in a theatre with your bum hanging out the back of the hideous gown you are made to wear!
When the timer stopped and the machine was turned off, I felt good! Well...until the probe had to be removed! Again that horrid pressure, like my head was being crushed, but it didn't last long!

After getting back to my room, after only a short time in recovery, I ate as soon as possible, took some tramadol for the extreme aching that I'd been left with, and left for home!

As far as I can remember, the aching pain lasted a couple of weeks but the ON pain was definitely lowered afterwards. Sadly this didn't last much longer than a week! :(

Two months after that I had a repeat nerve block. This helped me get back to work for a few days a week but still not lowered the pain enough to have a normal life!
The journey continues....

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