After undergoing surgery for back pain, especially if you’ve been dealing with it for a number of years, it’s frustrating to still be in pain after the procedure. And while acute pain is ordinary for a short period of time while you recover, chronic pain that continues long after your rehab is certainly unwelcomed. There is something you can do: seek pain management options from a doctor who understands the intricacies of back pain, such as the team you find at New Jersey-based Redefine Healthcare.
Also known as failed back surgery syndrome, post-laminectomy syndrome refers to the chronic pain you experience after spinal surgery. Since back pain an develop from many sources, it’s often difficult to attribute it directly to one source.
According to the latest research, post-laminectomy syndrome is fairly common after undergoing back surgery. You can develop the lingering discomfort due to arthritis, aging, not following the doctor’s recovery orders exactly or for any number of other reasons.
Sometimes, bone spurs appear on the back section of your vertebrae, increasing pressure on the spine. A laminectomy, also called decompression surgery, is a specific type of back surgery that involves removing the lamina, part of the vertebra, to relieve spinal pressure. You may develop post-laminectomy syndrome after a laminectomy or any other kind of back surgery. If it happens to you, find relief from a pain management expert.
Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Causes
Since the term post-laminectomy syndrome is often interchangeable with failed back surgery syndrome, you don’t necessarily need to have had a lamina removed to be diagnosed with the condition. Anyone at any age or physical condition who experiences chronic pain following a failed back surgery can receive the diagnosis.
Due to the complex nature of the condition, failed back surgery syndrome does not refer to a single issue. Instead, it refers to a cluster of various possible symptoms.
For instance, following your spinal surgery, you may experience:
- No change. After a successful procedure, the original pain returns.
- New problem. In spite of a successful surgery, a new spinal problem emerges, causing pain.
- Surgical complications. There may have been nerve damage during the surgery, you may have developed an infection or your spine didn’t heal correctly. The metal used to fuse your vertebrae may also cause pain.
Opioid Use Complications
Diagnosing the cause of post-laminectomy syndrome becomes even more complicated if you’ve used opioids for long-term pain management. These narcotic pain relievers work by fooling the body’s endocrine system, which is responsible for detecting pain.
Not only do you develop a tolerance to the opioids over time, but these drugs also inhibit your ability to produce endorphins naturally. While opioids can be useful for short-term pain relief, the physical debilitation from long-term use is well documented.
Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Symptoms
The symptoms of post-laminectomy syndrome may appear throughout your body. Since the failed back surgery usually takes place on the spine, your symptoms most often appear in one or more areas as:
When post-laminectomy syndrome affects your hands and feet, it’s a result of neurologic symptoms. Neurologic pain can take the form of tingling, heat or cold sensations in the extremities. This discomfort is a result of nerve damage at the spinal column.
Neurologic symptoms can also include loss of strength and feelings of heaviness. In rare cases, you may lose bowel or bladder control. Doctors can sometimes positively identify the nerve or group of nerves responsible for the neurologic symptoms, but this isn’t always the case. Your doctor may need to do extensive testing to find the source of your symptoms.
Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Treatment
If you’re suffering from post-laminectomy syndrome, you need to find the best pain management specialist you can find, such as one of the experts at Redefine Healthcare in northern New Jersey. Your condition requires a thorough evaluation, including a physical examination and possibly even imaging tests, such as an x-ray or an MRI.
Once diagnosed, your doctor has a wide range of treatment options that may be as simple as rehabilitation through physical therapy. Core stabilizing exercises effectively reduce pain, while stretching and yoga can improve joint mobility.
Treating Severe Post-Laminectomy Syndrome Pain
Severe spinal pain usually requires medical treatments, such as:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Fluoroscopically guided injections
- Epidural steroid injections
- Radiofrequency facet ablation
Treatment of neurological pain from nerve damage may be provided in the form of:
- Surgical removal of a compressing structure, such as bone spurs
- Anti-convulsant medication
- Spinal cord stimulator implant
The research and understanding of post-laminectomy syndrome are continuously evolving. The experts at Redefine Healthcare keep abreast of the most up-to-date treatment techniques. Since every case is unique, you must find a pain management expert who takes the time to evaluate and treat your specific condition appropriately. Contact us today to find out what you need to reduce or eliminate your pain.
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