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Pain Management for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Back pain can impact daily life, and for some, surgery may be the only route to bring pain relief. However, a percentage of patients continue to experience pain after surgery. Over time, ongoing back pain can cause a person to suffer from physical disability, and even psychosocial and financial issues. Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) happens when patients have ongoing post-operative pain in spite of their spine surgery to correct their diagnosed back problem. For spine surgeons, the key to helping FBSS patients feel better is to use all the diagnostic tools at their disposal to find the underlying cause of their pain so it can be corrected, which may or may not include additional back surgery.

Why Did My Back Surgery Fail?

Although the name of the condition implies your back surgery was a failure, this is not altogether accurate, because some patients do not improve even with the best surgical interventions and careful diagnoses. The goal of any spine surgery is either to decompress a pinched nerve root or to stabilize a painful joint, but unfortunately, no surgery can literally “cut out” a patient’s back pain. One of the most common reasons back surgeries fail is because the area the surgeon operated on was not the only cause of their pain. Spine surgery is always a last resort to treat back pain, simply because of the risks of FBSS.

What’s Next?

Revision spine surgery may be necessary if you still have pain after your first procedure or if new symptoms develop. Your orthopedic surgeon will take careful steps to uncover what went wrong with a robust reassessment by repeating diagnostic tests like MRI scans or other imaging tests. Your doctor may recommend noninvasive treatments to help with pain relief, such as physical therapy or nerve blocks. If revision surgery is suggested, you may undergo spinal fusion, rhizotomy surgery, or decompression surgery. Today we also offer neuro modulation or spinal cord stimulation which can provide extensive long term relief. Finding the right treatment for you depends on your specific condition, overall health and physician recommendations.

Are you suffering from failed back surgery syndrome? Our orthopedic surgeons can help. Contact us at (727) 300-2537 to reach Comprehensive Spine Institute. We’re here to help.