Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a perplexing condition that affects individuals who have undergone spinal surgery, but are still experiencing pain and disability related to their lower back, legs, or hips. This condition is often characterized by persistent or recurrent symptoms, making it incredibly challenging to treat.
What Causes Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?
FBSS is typically caused by a combination of factors, including nerve damage, scar tissue formation, disc herniation or instability, joint problems, and spinal stenosis. These factors often contribute to the development of chronic inflammation and excessive pressure on the spinal nerves and tissue, leading to persistent pain and limited mobility.
Nerve Damage as a Factor in FBBS
One of the primary factors that contribute to FBSS is nerve damage. Nerve damage can occur during surgery or due to the original cause of the patient’s back problem. Factors such as inflammation, infection, or compression of the nerves can also aggravate existing damage and lead to the development of FBSS.
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome and Scar Tissue
Scar tissue formation is another common cause of FBSS. Scar tissue can develop around the surgical site, which can lead to an increase in pressure on the spinal nerves and tissue. This increased pressure can cause pain and discomfort, limiting the patient’s mobility.
Disc Issues Resulting in FBBS
Disc herniation or instability can also contribute to the development of FBSS. Disc herniation occurs when the soft, jelly-like material inside the vertebral disc protrudes from its outer layer and compresses the spinal nerves. Similarly, instability can cause the spinal vertebrae to shift out of their normal alignment and put pressure on the surrounding nerves and tissue.
Join Problems in Relation to Failed Back Surgery
Joint problems and spinal stenosis can further exacerbate the symptoms of FBSS. Joint problems arise when there is damage or degeneration in the facet joints of the spine, which are responsible for stabilizing the vertebrae. This can lead to increased pressure and inflammation on the spinal nerves and surrounding tissue. Similarly, spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, leading to pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Failed Back Surgery is More Common Than You May Think
Research suggests that FBSS affects around 10-40% of patients who undergo back surgeries, which makes it one of the most common causes of chronic lower back pain and disability. Unfortunately, the condition is notoriously difficult to treat, and patients often require a multidisciplinary approach to pain management.
Treatments For Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
In some cases, conservative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care in Clearwater, and medication may help manage the symptoms of FBSS. However, more advanced interventions like spinal cord stimulation, nerve root blocks, and revision surgeries may be necessary to provide long-lasting relief.
While conservative treatments may provide temporary relief, advanced interventions may be necessary to manage the symptoms in the long-term.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
One such intervention is spinal cord stimulation, which involves the placement of an electrode array along the spinal cord that delivers low-voltage electrical impulses to block the sensation of pain. Spinal cord stimulation has been found to be particularly effective in managing lower back pain and leg pain associated with FBSS, with a success rate of more than 50% in clinical studies.
Nerve Root Blocks
Another intervention that may be helpful for FBSS patients is nerve root blocks. Nerve root blocks involve injecting a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid directly into the affected nerve root to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Nerve root blocks can be effective in managing radicular pain, which is pain that radiates along the nerves from the spine into the extremities.
In some cases, revision surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying issue that led to the initial surgery failure. Revision surgery may involve a more extensive procedure, such as fusion, disc replacement, or decompression, to address structural issues in the spine that were not properly corrected in the previous surgery.
Emotional Symptoms Related To FBBS
Furthermore, patients who develop FBSS often experience immense emotional distress and frustration, as the condition can interfere with their daily activities, work, and relationships. For this reason, it is essential for healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care and support to address both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition.
Overall, FBSS is a complex and multifaceted condition that requires an individualized approach to diagnosis and treatment. By addressing the underlying causes of pain and disability, healthcare providers can help improve the quality of life for patients who are struggling with this debilitating condition.
Contact Total Vitality Medical Group if you think you may be experiencing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.
Dr. Adam Rosoff is a Chiropractic Physician at Total Vitality Medical Group. Dr. Rosoff has helped thousands of patients by utilizing the most current evidence-based approach. Dr. Rosoff earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and went on to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.