What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, and How is it Treated?

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Although many patients go through complex spinal surgeries to alleviate back pain, some leave the operating room with continual, if not more, pain that impacts their daily lives for years to come. At Aether Medicine, we offer patients throughout Wayne, PA customized pain medicine intervention plans to treat acute and chronic pain, including excruciating symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome. Dr. Asare Christian is a board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who utilizes individualized approaches to help prevent pain and future flare-ups.

What is failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)?

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is a generalized description for patients who’ve undergone unsuccessful spinal surgery in that they continue to live with chronic back pain after their operation. Since spinal surgeries are designed to change the anatomy of the spine, there is no certainty that a patient’s back pain will be resolved due to the complexity of the nerves and vertebral structure. Other causes for FBSS may include:

  • Failed spinal fusion

  • Implant failure

  • Inadequate decompression of a nerve root

  • Nerve damage caused by surgery

  • Formation of scar tissue around the nerve root

What are the symptoms of FBSS?

The most common symptom of FBSS is chronic back pain. However, other symptoms may include:

  • Leg and neck pain

  • Numbness

  • Tingling

  • Prickling sensations

  • Temperature changes in the skin

FBSS symptoms vary by patient depending on the damage or abnormalities in the spine.

How to treat FBSS

Typically, patients with FBSS may seek post-operative care from a primary physician who can diagnose their pain symptoms and prescribe medications, including:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Opioids

  • Neuropathic medication

  • Antidepressants

  • Antiepileptics

At Aether Medicine, Dr. Christian offers alternative pain medicine as a rehabilitative approach for patients with FBSS and many other chronic pain-related conditions.

What is pain medicine?

Pain medicine is a holistic, multimodal intervention approach provided by specialists who treat patients with acute and chronic pain. The goal is to prevent and manage pain, provide forms of rehabilitation, and to facilitate patients’ abilities to participate wholly in their daily lives. At Aether Medicine, Dr. Christian performs thorough initial evaluations to understand the unique needs of each patient and to provide customized pain medicine treatment plans.

Benefits of pain medicine

Pain medicine for chronic and acute pain provides individuals with numerous benefits, including:

  • Unique, highly tailored intervention plans

  • Treatment for both acute and chronic pain

  • Non-opioid, alternative pain medicine

  • Reduction in depression and anxiety

  • Restored participation in daily tasks

  • Participation in physical rehabilitation

Available pain medicine options

Dr. Christian will review your personal and medical histories to ascertain what interventions may be appropriate for you. Over the course of treatment, your progress will be closely monitored, and adjustments to your treatment may be provided as needed to optimize your recovery. At Aether Medicine, we offer the following pain medicine approaches:

  • Trigger point injections

  • Ultrasound-guided injections

  • Lifestyle modifications and education

  • Mindfulness techniques

  • Alternative and complementary medicine

  • Medical cannabis

  • Neurotoxin injections

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy

  • Regenerative medicine

  • Peripheral joint injections

  • Noninterventional pain management

  • Nonsurgical nerve blocks

Learn more about customized and alternative treatment options for FBSS

If you reside in or near Wayne, PA, and are living with acute or chronic pain as a result of failed back surgery syndrome, contact us at Aether Medicine and schedule a consultation today. Board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Dr. Asare Christian will work with you to create a uniquely tailored pain medicine plan to help alleviate your symptoms and restore your participation in daily life.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.