When it comes to surgeries, there is no doubt heart surgery and back surgery strike fear in most patients. So much can go wrong with both surgeries, and the consequences can be devastating. If you or someone you know recently had back surgery, here are a number of signs you may be suffering from failed back surgery syndrome.
FBSS – What Is It?
Failed back surgery syndrome can be defined as several negative consequences from having back surgery. In plain language it means that the surgery did not achieve what it was supposed to correct.
It can generally be described as the following:
- Feeling like the pain improved at first, but then it becomes worse again.
- The symptoms never got better
- Symptoms got worse.
- Symptoms might have moved from back pain to leg pain, or leg to back pain, or even both.
Spine surgeries are complicated and are performed in many different ways. All surgeries have risks along with the benefits, and the more complicated a specific surgery is, the greater chance there could be complications.
It’s important to understand what you can expect post surgery and how long it will take to recover.
Specific Signs Of FBSS
Pain That Does Not Diminish
All surgeries will have normal recovery times and a timeline of when to expect improvements. At some point you should begin to have less pain. If your pain does not decrease, or it becomes worse as time passes, something may have gone wrong with the surgery itself or your post-surgical recovery.
Nerve pain after surgery can indicate a pinched nerve, a failed fusion, or a disc herniation. Sometimes scar tissue develops at the site of the surgery causing nerve pain. Common symptoms include severe leg pain down the side of the leg as lower back pain gets worse.
Wasn’t this why you had the surgery to begin with? If there is no improvement or if you experience additional new chronic pain, this is an obvious sign of FBSS.
Surgery to correct a herniated disc is supposed to give a patient more mobility. If indeed, the patient becomes weaker, less mobile, or has partial paralysis, this is a sign of failed back surgery syndrome.
Joint Lockage, Spasms, And Cramps
This could be a serious consequence. Having cramps and spasms shortly after surgery can be common, but if they continue beyond recovery, you should contact Spine & Scoliosis Specialists as soon as possible. Additionally, if these spasms and cramps cause problems with walking or the ability to bend your leg, don’t wait to seek medical care.