The sense of disappointment that accompanies failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) can be emotionally devastating. It’s easy to fall into denial. After all, everyone says to expect some pain after an open spinal fusion procedure. Surely, it will go away eventually. Won’t it? Yes, it is true: It takes time for the incisions associated with traditional fusion surgery to heal. And yes, the healing process takes longer for some patients than for others. Yet, at some point after surgery, if chronic neck or back pain continues to be debilitating, it is time to address the possibility that you may, in fact, be experiencing symptoms of FBSS. What then?
The first thing to do if you think you have FBSS is to consult your physician. He or she will likely perform examinations and tests similar to those performed when you first became concerned that chronic pain was having an adverse affect on your quality of life. You will also be asked whether you have followed postoperative instructions to the letter. It is obviously important to do so to give your surgical wounds the best chance to heal correctly. Deviations from prescribed physical therapy or other postoperative procedures also can help your physician determine a potential cause for your FBSS.
Chances are, before considering another surgical procedure, you will be asked to undergo many of the same conservative treatments that were used before your surgery, including:
- Physical therapy
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Non-steroidal, over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication
- Epidural steroidal injections
- Exercise and stretching
- Hot and cold compresses
- Or others
Minimally invasive alternative to fusion
One way to avoid FBSS associated with unsuccessful spinal fusion is to contact Laser Spine Institute before settling for highly invasive conventional surgery. The orthopedic surgeons at Laser Spine Institute treat degenerative spine conditions such as herniated discs with minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can help you find relief from neck and back pain.