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Post-Laminectomy Syndrome (Post-Surgical Pain or Failed Back Syndrome)

What is it?

Recurring pain in the back or legs is a fairly common occurrence for patients who have had spinal surgery. This condition is known as Post-Laminectomy Syndrome (Failed Back Syndrome). The term “Failed Back” is a misnomer, as it is used to describe a surgery that did not have the desired results from the back or spine surgery, and pain persists.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include dull and aching pain in the back and/or legs as well as stabbing pain in the feet. The pain can be persistent, severe, and debilitating.

What factors contribute to the condition?
  • Recurring Disc herniation (bulging)
  • Retained disc fragments
  • Incomplete decompression of disc
  • Persistent pressure on nerves
  • Joint instability or changed joint mobility
  • Scar tissue
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Weakness in muscles that support the spine
  • Depression and/or anxiety
How is the syndrome diagnosed?

A variety of state-of-the-art techniques, along with an interdisciplinary approach, have proven effective in diagnosing, managing, or eliminating post-operative pain.First we conduct a comprehensive examination. Then we may recommend diagnostic studies to help us pinpoint the source of the pain. These can include MRIs, X-rays, nerve conduction studies, and diagnostic spinal injections that are done under fluoroscopy.

     • Modalities
          • Manual therapy

          • Stabilization education

          • Postural education

• Medications

     • Anti-depressants

     • Assessment of opioid protocol

     • Anti-epileptic drugs

• Injection therapy

     • Nerve root blocks

     • Epidural injections

• Non-surgical pain management procedures

     • Pulsed radiofrequency deactivation of dorsal root ganglion

     • Spinal cord stimulation (Dorsal column stimulator)

     • Racz procedure (Epidural neurolysis)

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