Back Pain Years after Spine Surgery

Category: Back Pain, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 6, 2015

low back pain

Many patients who undergo spine surgeries for bulging discs and pinched nerves report immediate pain relief. But what happens when pain recurs years after a procedure? In this article, we will discuss several things that can potentially go wrong and cause back pain years after a minimally invasive spinal surgery.

What Can Go Wrong Years after Surgery?

In many cases, minimally invasive spine procedures are considered long-term treatments. Surgical intervention often provides the most effective pain relief in the long run as they correct the root of the issue, whereas conservative treatments are geared at mitigating the symptoms. Despite all its merits, minimally invasive spine surgeries are not always a cure all. There are numerous potential issues that can crop up years after a patient has a successful procedure. Here are a few examples:

  • Spine Hardware Malfunction. Spine hardware is made out of incredibly durable materials. Though it’s unlikely, hardware can loosen or break down over time, causing back pain and other issues.
  • Failed Fusion. In a spinal fusion surgery, a bone graft is set in place (with the help of hardware) to join two or more vertebral levels. This provides stability and relieves pain from bulging discs and pinched nerves. Sometimes a graft will not successfully take.
  • Additional Bulging Discs & Pinched Nerves. The spine is a complex network of nerves. Even if you surgically fix one bulging disc, that may not prevent you from herniating a different disc in your back.

When to Contact Your Spine Physician

It’s always tough deciding whether or not to make an appointment with your physician. Many people try to deal with pain and other symptoms, hoping they will go away eventually. But it’s usually a good idea to get to the bottom of your back pain early and prevent any serious complications. If you begin experiencing pain or numbness months or years after your spine surgery, contact your surgeon to make sure there is nothing else that needs to be addressed.

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