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Get Relief from Pain After Back Surgery

When making the decision to go forward with back surgery, the hope is that by having the procedure done it will reduce or eliminate pain.

The reality is that back surgery can be unsuccessful and ultimately leave you with the same level of pain, or even greater pain, than when you first had the procedure.

The issue has become so common that it has a name: Failed Back Syndrome. Tampa pain specialist Dr. Jorge Leal with Physician Partners of America has this first-hand in his patients over the years.

“Sometimes the pain can occur immediately after the surgery.The pain you feel does not get better,” Dr. Leal said. “Sometimes it’s a period of days or weeks after the initial surgery.  The pain goes away but then it comes back.”

Symptoms of Failed Back Syndrome are varied. However, typically a patient will feel pain in their back and usually down one or both of the lower extremities.

“A patient could feel numbness in their legs, tingling sensations and also muscle atrophy,” Dr. Leal said. “If the nerves have been damaged, there could be a loss of reflexes, depending on the degree of residual damage.”

Physician Partners of America offers patients pain relief without surgery.

Treating failed back syndrome can be done using conventional measures such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Another option is nerve blocks if they have not been tried in the past.

“If no further surgical treatment is required or desirable, then we look at implantable devices like spinal cord stimulation or a morphine pump,” Dr. Leal said.

The prognosis for someone with Failed Back Syndrome varies widely based on the kind of surgery that was performed and where the pain is coming from. Sometimes the pain will subside with treatment, but it is not a guarantee.

“What we can do is, through various diagnostic nerve blocks, we can identify the pain generator,” said Dr. Leal.  “From there we can concentrate on it and determine the best course of treatment for such a pain generator.”