If back surgery fails to solve your problems, you’re not alone. Up to 40% of people who receive surgery for back pain continue to have pain. Experts refer to this condition as failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). The good news is you’re not out of options.
Vladimir Fiks, MD, of Advanced Pain Management Center in Portland, Oregon, specializes in interventional pain management treatments, including those that provide relief from complex conditions, such as FBSS. In this blog, Dr. Fiks explains more about FBSS and how spinal injections can provide relief.
Understanding failed back surgery syndrome
It’s frustrating going through a surgery without getting results. However, several factors can cause this to happen. And, despite the name, having FBSS doesn’t necessarily mean anyone is to blame.
A number of factors can cause FBSS. To start, back and neck pain can be incredibly complex to diagnose and treat. As a result, FBSS can occur for surgical reasons, such as:
- Surgical changes in the area that trigger new issues
- Failed implants or fusions
- Procedures that target the wrong area
Success rates for back surgery also decline with each treatment. For instance, spinal surgeries are up to 50% successful the first time. Yet, these numbers drop to 30% the second time, 15% the third time, and they fall all the way to 5% by the fourth procedure.
On top of that, other factors — such as lifestyle habits (smoking) and medical conditions (obesity) can increase the likelihood of suffering from FBSS.
Signs of FBSS
It’s also important to note that FBSS may not develop for weeks, months, or even years after spinal surgery. The pain can also be new or completely different from the symptoms you experienced pre-surgery.
Common signs of FBSS include:
- Weakness or numbness
- Limited mobility
- Widespread pain in the back or limbs
- Problems sleeping
FBSS can also cause feelings of depression and anxiety.
FBSS and spinal injections
Now for the good news: Dr. Fiks offers nonsurgical options that can relieve back pain in patients who have FBSS, and one of them is spinal injections.
Depending on the type of injection, a spinal injection can reduce inflammation, reduce pain, or both. Spinal injections can be given anywhere from the cervical spine (neck) to the tailbone (lumbosacral).
Types of spinal injections include the following:
- Facet joint injections target the joints located behind each vertebra
- Epidural steroid injections focus on the space surrounding the spinal nerves
- Medial branch blocks target medial nerves that are connected to specific facet joints
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections target the joint that’s formed by your spine and pelvis
- Sympathetic nerve blocks soothe nerves that control involuntary bodily functions
Dr. Fiks can also perform radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which disables the pain signals of the targeted nerve tissue.
To determine the best course of treatment, Dr. Fiks reviews your referral information, diagnostic tests, and medical history. He also performs a physical assessment and discusses your symptoms.
If you have ongoing pain or other FBSS symptoms, Dr. Fiks can create a personalized treatment strategy to help. To learn more, call 971-233-4199 or book an appointment online with Advanced Pain Management Center today.