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Brain & Spine Disorders

Failed Back Syndrome

Failed back syndrome (FBS) can be described as chronic, severe back and/or leg pain that occurs after back surgery. Multiple factors can contribute to FBS, which can be extremely troubling and disabling:
  • The original disease has reoccurred or was not treated completely. Examples include recurrent disc herniation and ongoing pressure on a nerve.
  • Complications may arise from back surgery or the natural healing process that follows back surgery. A joint may become irritated because surgery altered the person's posture and way of moving. Scarring from surgery may cause nerves to become overactive and generate pain.
  • Other condition(s) may mediate ongoing complaint of back pain. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and/or deconditioning may be present and need to be treated when possible.
Symptoms may include diffuse, dull, and achy pain located primarily in the back and/or legs (see nociceptive pain) and sharp, pricking, and stabbing pain that radiates from the legs (see neuropathic pain). Patients with Failed Back Syndrome should be evaluated and treated in an interdisciplinary setting where a group of healthcare professionals from varied fields work together toward a common goal for the patient. Treatments may range from non-surgical to surgical depending on the cause(s) of pain.

Neurostimulation or intrathecal drug delivery may be considered whe other conservative treatments, such as exercise or other manual techniques, have failed and when further corrective surgery is not indicated.

If you think you have this type of pain, talk to your doctor to learn whether you may be a candidate for neurostimulation or intrathecal drug delivery. Your doctor (or a doctor to whom you are referred) will put you through a selection process to determine if these treatments may benefit you.

Results may vary. See your doctor to determine whether you are a candidate for neurostimulation or intrathecal drug delivery.

Low Back Pain (Overview)

Low Back Pain & Disorders (Lumbar Spine)

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