Today marks the end of Radiofrequency Ablation week 1 and I have been getting many questions about how it's been. I wanted to answer all of those questions now:
I have currently lost about 20-25% of the feeling in the affected area of my neck. The muscles that were injured during the procedure (from the heat, needle, etc) have been slow to heal. For the last 18 hours they have knotted up at the base of my skull which is causing a little pain. This morning I also started having shooting/stabbing pains from my cervical spine down through my left hand. These are all complications/side effects of the procedure so I'm dealing with them as they occur. I have also had a migraine every day since the procedure but they have been "mild".
My doctor warned that it would be 2-6 weeks before the nerves stopped firing and he could tell if it was a success. The nerves continue trying to send signals across the damaged/dead portions. In that 2-6 weeks, the nerves will begin to learn that those sections are dead and eventually stop trying to communicate to them. After that 6-weeks it's a waiting game. Will the nerves regrow in 2 months? 6 months? a year? 10 years? Only time and the ability of my body to heal itself will tell.
These nerves WILL regrow which means that the pain will eventually come back. However, the pain that returns may or may not be as bad or the same as what I have had. The nerves may grow back in the same spot, or they may re-route themselves around the damage in my neck. My plan after I achieve some relief in 2017 is to begin physical therapy to reduce the arthritis inflammation and correct the curvature of my neck. Perhaps by the time it's needed, there will some kind of permanent solution--until then, I will continue to take each day as it comes!