Failed Back Syndrome

A man suffering from failed back syndrome

Failed back syndrome isn’t really a syndrome at all. Rather it is a general term for to describe the condition of patients who have pain after a failed back or spinal surgery. Failed back syndrome is a broad term because there are many reasons that back surgery may be considered a failure. While studies have shown that spine surgeries are up to 90% successful, that last 10% is a fairly large margin for failed surgeries.

Failed Back Syndrome and Pain:

Improper preoperative patient education is perhaps the most common cause of failed back surgery syndrome. There are issues on both ends of the spectrum: doctor and patient. While a patient may note their pain, they may not be able accurately define where there patient is located or why they are experiencing pain. On the other hand, a surgeon, no matter how educated, may make a mistake in identifying the cause of patient pain.

When undergoing spinal surgery, surgeons look for anatomic lesion in the spine which may correlate with the patients pain. However, some lesions are more reliable than others. An example of this is degenerative disc disease. While this condition may be the root cause of a patient’s pain, it shares a lot of characteristics with disc herniation pinching a nerve root in the leg. So it is difficult for a surgeon to accurately ascertain the cause of pain.

The following are other sources of pain that may mimic back injuries:

While back or spine surgery may indeed relieve a patient’s pain, there are a lot of surgeries that are far less likely to be successful. For this exact reason, a large number of doctors offer or suggest nonsurgical alternatives.

Spine and Back Surgery Alternatives:

At Metropolitan Pain Consultants we offer two vastly different, yet equally efficient alternatives for failed back syndrome. One the one hand we offer traditional spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and BurstDR stimulation, and on the other hand we offer regenerative medicine. Both treatment options are capable of offering chronic pain relief stemming from failed back syndrome.

Spinal Cord Stimulation:

A small device is placed in the patient that intercepts pain signals running along the spinal cord before reaching the brain. It reduces these signals, therefore reducing the patient’s pain. Traditional stimulators, and BurstDR in particular are capable of alleviating pain from virtually all locations; including failed back syndrome.

Most commonly, BurstDR is used to help patients with neuropathic pain. This form of pain is usually found in the limbs, buttocks, hips, back, abdomen, and neck. Some patients report stabbing, cutting, or piercing pain. However, it is typically a burning, shooting, stinging, or tingling “pins and needles” type of sensation.

Regenerative Medicine:

We offer two forms of regenerative medicine at our facilities: platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow concentrate (BMC) therapy. Both treatments are nonsurgical injections that use the patient’s own blood and stem cells to help alleviate pain and cure the injured site.

Both PRP and BMC begin with a pain specialist drawing blood from the patient. Once the sample is removed, the doctor places the sample in a centrifuge where it is spun to separate the various blood layers (red and white blood cells, platelets, plasma, etc.). Once the new sample is centrifuged and separated, the doctor will inject it back into the injured area.

A normal injection is usually around 20 minutes per treatment. With the normal injury usually requires 1 to 3 injections while more severe injuries may require more. Typically, these forms of regenerative medicine heals the injected area over a span of one to three months. However, these results will vary on a patient-to-patient basis.

Can Regenerative Medicine Help With My Pain?

Besides helping relieve failed back syndrome pain, regenerative medicine should be able to help your back pain with the following:

Finally, at Metropolitan Pain Consultants our expert pain physicians will work with you to discover how to beat back pain. If you are experiencing recurring low back pain and wish to discuss your pain condition further, please contact us today. You can reach us at 201-729-0001 to schedule a consultation at one of our clinics. Our conveniently located clinics can be found in West OrangeAberdeenClifton, and Lyndhurst.

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