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Surgery for back or neck pain is often performed when there is an identifiable source of pain, usually to decompress a pinched nerve root or to stabilize a painful joint. However, back or neck pain can have a number of causes and an accurate identification of the cause of the pain is complicated.
Prior to considering surgery, in most cases conservative treatment options are 1st prescribed . In most cases, a majority of individuals will improve and be able to avoid surgery. As a result, some surgeries may be unsuccessful in relieving pain, and may actually make pain worse. Unfortunately, some individuals may still experience persistent pain following neck or low back surgery. For example, approximately 10 to 40 percent of people in United States that have had previous surgery for back pain continue to have significant pain.
Persistent pain after back or neck surgery can be caused by a number of reasons, including:
• The original cause of pain can recur or there may be complications during surgery
• The nerve root causing the pain may be inadequately decompressed or become compressed again secondary to new onset spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal), scar tissue (epidural fibrosis), or a recurrent disc herniation
• Joints or nerves may become irritated during the surgical procedure or new onset irritation of surrounding joints and nerves may occur.
In addition, nerve damage, either prior to surgery or during the procedure, will not heal and can contribute to ongoing pain.
The pain associated with pain after neck or back surgery depends on the surgical procedure and the original condition. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp stabbing pain, and may be localized to one region of the back or neck or may extend to the arms or legs.
Treatment options from Dr. David Provenzano
Dr. Provenzano will perform a thorough evaluation and develop a personalized treatment plan that includes the most advanced pain management techniques to diagnose and treat persistent pain after back or neck surgery, which may include: