Managing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

For patients who have recently had a spinal surgery and found yourself with new or increased pain, they may feel incredibly disheartened. Failed back surgery syndrome is an unfortunate reality for some patients, but the good news is that there are ways to improve your condition. First, however, let’s discuss what failed back surgery syndrome is.

What Is It?

Failed back surgery syndrome is a condition wherein a patient undergoes a spinal surgery and wakes up with new, often chronic pain. There is no typical experience, and patients may deal with anything from mild discomfort to debilitating pain. Many patients undergo spinal surgeries to treat already-existing pain, and waking up with new issues can be alarming and concerning for many individuals. While surgical methods have drastically improved over the last few years, the overall rate of failed back surgery syndrome has not dropped.

What Causes It?

Since failed back surgery syndrome varies so widely between patients, it follows that it can be attributed to a number of causes. Some of the most common factors in causing failed back surgery syndrome include:

  • Patients being a bad fit for the procedure
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Poor surgical intervention
  • Poor or outdated surgical technique
  • Failed surgery
  • Chronic and recurring back issues

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How Can You Treat It?

Before you can begin treatment for your failed back surgery syndrome, your physician will first need to understand what the issue was with your initial spinal surgery. This is most often achieved through a detailed examination of your medical history, a thorough physical examination, and diagnostic tests that correlate to your reported symptoms. The overall goal of the diagnostic process is both to identify your symptoms and rule out any possible causes that may not originate from your spinal surgery.

In moderate and mild cases, pain-relieving medications may be sufficient to relieve a patient’s pain. NSAIDs are often prescribed to reduce any inflammation as well as manage pain, and opioids may be prescribed as short-term pain relief until another solution can be found.

Patients may find long-term solutions via physical therapy and steroid injections to help the injured areas regain strength and function. As strength returns to the weakened areas, patients often find themselves suffering fewer and less severe symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome.

Pain Management

Symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome are often difficult to treat and entirely resolve, thus managing the pain is the most realistic goal for treatment. To lessen your symptoms and find relief to your pain, contact Dr. Jeffrey M. Epstein for a consultation about your unique symptoms and how to manage them.