Failed Back Surgery Syndrome Treatments
If a patient continues to have pain several months following back surgery, it is important to determine which of the possible causes (such as recurrent disc herniations, failed fusions and continued nerve compression) may be repaired with additional surgery.
If it is determined that another back surgery is not the best course of action, therapies include:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory drugs: Ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen
- Narcotics: Morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl patches
- Neuromodulatory drugs: Gabapentin, amitriptyline, pregabalin, duloxetine
- Surgical treatments:
- Nerve blocks: Injections of anesthetic or steroids into the spine can provide significant relief. Injections of steroids will reduce inflammation and thereby decrease pain.
- Spinal cord stimulation: This minimally invasive technique, in which electrodes are placed in the spinal canal but not on the spinal cord, offers relief for many people without medication-related side effects. It also allows patients significant control over the device.
- Intrathecal drug infusion: This therapy uses pumps and implanted catheters to continuously send pain-relieving medication into the spinal fluid, which enables the patient to receive a significantly enhanced effect from the medication at a much lower dose and without the usual side effects like drowsiness.