Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a general term that describes the condition of a patient who has undergone back surgery and is continuing to experience painful symptoms or has developed new symptoms. These symptoms can include ongoing pain, muscle spasms, sharp pain in the extremities and aching in the neck, back or legs.
There are several potential causes of FBSS, which is more common following traditional open back procedures. Causes can include:
- An erroneous initial diagnosis
- Scar tissue that is applying pressure to a nerve root
- Nerve damage during surgery
- An implant that has migrated
- A failed spinal fusion
- Inadequate removal of disc or bone
Minimizing the symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome
Because the symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome can vary greatly from person to person, there are many different nonsurgical treatment options available. They include:
- Exercising and stretching. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine and improving flexibility can lessen the load being placed on the spine.
- Lifestyle changes. Obesity can add greatly to the strain being placed on the spine, and a healthier lifestyle that eliminates tobacco and alcohol use can help to reduce symptoms.
- Hot and cold compresses. Alternating heat and ice on the affected area can help to lessen any inflammation.
- Pain medications. Over-the-counter pain and anti-inflammatory medications can help make the symptoms more tolerable.
- Epidural steroidal injections. Delivering medication directly to the affected area can temporarily reduce pain and discomfort.
- Chiropractic treatment. Regular chiropractic care can help the spine’s alignment and reduce the pressure being put on spinal nerve roots.
- Massage therapy. Regular massages can greatly reduce muscle tension in the neck and back.
Failed back surgery syndrome treatment at USA Spine Care
For the majority of patients, following a daily treatment plan that includes a combination of conservative and alternative methods reduces their symptoms enough for them to resume a normal, active lifestyle. For more severe cases of failed back surgery syndrome where the symptoms persist and the daily pain and discomfort are too much to bear, surgery may be an option. USA Spine Care’s minimally invasive surgeries are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back procedures.^ Contact us today to find out if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.
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