Ignoring the signs of failed back surgery syndrome can be easy for a patient recovering from a spine procedure. After all, if you have just undergone a spine surgery, you will probably assume any pain or discomfort is just part of the normal healing process. Of course, a certain amount of discomfort is to be expected following any surgery, but how can you differentiate between usual effects of a surgery and the signs of a failed back surgery? Here are a few basic tips about the warning signs to look out for.
Your symptoms should be getting better
You know why you had back surgery in the first place. Maybe the pain in your lower back was too much to handle or you were experiencing radiating pain down your leg, weakness in your foot or other similar issues. Whatever your specific symptoms were, be sure to monitor whether they are improving in the midst of normal postsurgical recovery. You should be noticing some sort of progress in the weeks following your procedure. If not — or if your problems are getting worse — your surgery may have failed to address the underlying cause of your symptoms.
You should not experience new symptoms
Beyond some soreness at the surgical site, you shouldn’t notice any new symptoms affecting your neck, back or extremities. Sometimes, open spine surgeries have unintended consequences that can cause new symptoms at the spinal level that is being treated or development of symptoms at a different level of the spine. These problems can result from the development of scar tissue and other byproducts of surgery, but they are also considered signs of failed back surgery syndrome.
Don’t wait if you notice problems
Whether you realize your back surgery has been ineffective at resolving symptoms or has caused new problems altogether, you should talk with your physician or surgeon right away. Unresolved back problems can lead to an array of side effects that can be extremely debilitating. It can even cause depression. Discuss any potential options you have for addressing your particular symptoms — which may include further surgical intervention.
Initial treatment for failed back surgery syndrome will typically involve conservative options such as physical therapy, medication, spinal injections and lifestyle changes like weight loss or posture improvement. A follow-up surgery may become an option if symptoms persist, or worsen, despite fully exhausting these types of treatments. At USA Spine Care our minimally invasive spine surgery uses muscle-sparing techniques and can be an option for patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome. Our procedures provide a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery offering our patients a shorter recovery time with less risk of postsurgical complications.^ Contact us today to learn more.
We can help you find out if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery by providing a free review of your MRI or CT scan.*