What is failed back surgery syndrome, and what are the causes
Failed back surgery syndrome, or post laminectomy syndrome, is a general term used to describe the condition of patients who still feel chronic pain after spine or back surgery. The term is somewhat misleading as returning back pain does not mean that the surgery failed. Success rates of back surgeries vary, and it is always best to discuss all possible options with your doctor.
Typical causes of failed back surgery syndrome
- The patient may not have been a good candidate for surgery.
- The procedure was performed in the wrong location of the back.
- Scar tissue formed around a nerve root.
- The body rejected a bone graft.
- Fusion hardware used in the surgery failed.
- Nerve damage occurred during surgery.
- The patient developed an infection.
What are the symptoms, and how do they progress?
Failed back surgery symptoms are not always simple to identify. This is especially true during the initial stages of recovery because rehabilitation or physical therapy may cause additional pain or discomfort. Consult with your surgeon about the expected amount of stiffness and inflammation at the incision site. In general, what you should not expect is a continuation or intensification of the symptoms you experienced before the operation.
You may experience
- limited mobility
- difficulty walking
- numbness or tingling
- muscle weakness
- burning sensation
- loss of bladder or bowel control
Only a physician or spine care specialist should diagnose you with failed back surgery syndrome because you might easily confuse the symptoms with the normal healing process. Home treatment without a diagnosis may actually worsen your pain and slow your recovery.
What are some home remedy solutions?
Understanding the difference between post-surgery soreness and failed back surgery syndrome could help you find pain relief faster. If pain persists after back surgery, the best course of action is to consult with your doctor. Because of the many different reasons for surgery and the possibility that you may not have the condition, there is no recommended home treatment for failed back surgery syndrome.
Treating Failed back surgery syndrome at NWA Interventional Pain
Failed back surgery syndrome can be challenging to treat because there is no single cause. Successful treatment depends largely on an accurate diagnosis of the underlying source of the pain, so our pain clinic conducts a thorough physical examination and medical history.
We can provide several treatment options that we tailor to your needs. Medications help with inflammation and stiffness while physical therapy strengthens the core muscles to take pressure off the spine. Once we identify the source of the pain, we can use transforaminal or interlaminar epidural steroid injections to deposit medication near the pressure points around irritated and swollen nerve roots.
Spinal cord stimulation is an evolving interventional technique that can be a long-lasting pain solution for patients with chronic nerve-related pain. After you have been deemed a successful candidate, you will undergo a trial where we transmit electricity to your painful nerves through one or two epidural leads. If the trial is successful in reducing your pain, you will receive implantation where the leads go into the same area of your epidural space but are connected to an internal battery, which is secured inside your body.
Treatment for failed back syndrome is best performed at a pain treatment center by a Fellowship Trained Interventional Pain Doctor. We are part of a select class who has pursued additional training to provide you with state of the art care, and we will take a systematic approach to identify the source of the pain.
What sort of problems can occur after pain treatment?
Complications from conservative therapies are generally rare if you follow your doctor’s instructions for follow up. However, the severity of the condition requires you to maintain an open dialogue with your pain control clinic. Injections decrease in effectiveness over time, and most pain doctors limit them due to side effects such as headaches, nausea, muscle weakness, weight gain, hypertension, and osteoporosis.
This condition also called “failed back surgery syndrome,” is a type of chronic pain. It can develop in some people after spine surgery causing severe back pain. Treatment for failed back pain syndrome is best accomplished by an experienced pain management doctor.