Our Pain Management Blog


Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

If you suffer from back pain, you’re not alone. Back pain is such a common problem in the U.S. that some studies have estimated that we spend about the same amount each year for back surgeries as we do for cancer treatments!

While some back surgeries do resolve patients’ problems, that’s not always the case. In fact, continued pain after back surgery is so common that the medical professional has coined the phrase “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome,” or FBSS, and is a condition we see often at our pain clinic in Austin.

If you have undergone back surgery, but still suffer discomfort nonetheless, you could be experiencing FBSS. Here are a few symptoms to look for:

  • Significant, persistent pain in the back or leg(s) that cannot be completely relieved by medication or physiotherapy.
  • Tingling sensation and numbness in hands, legs, feet or arms.
  • Decreased mobility, including a limited range of motion in your back.
  • Weakness in legs and arms.
  • Depression and anxiety are often byproducts of the chronic pain brought about by FBSS. These conditions, in turn, can lead to abuse of alcohol or prescribed medications.

Although there is no absolute cure for FBSS – with the possible exception of additional surgery, which many patients are hesitant to do – there are ways to alleviate the pain associated with this condition. The first step is to obtain a diagnosis of the condition from your doctor. He or she will likely recommend x-rays, an MRI or a CT scan to assist in the diagnosis. Once you know you have FBSS, consider working with the trained professionals at a pain intervention center to discover how to alleviate the pain and other symptoms and return to a normal lifestyle.

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