Back Pain Treatment Gone Wrong…
Many Americans suffering from varied back problems opt for back operations every year. However, a majority of these surgeries are just an empty promise. A recent study indicated that there are many cases of back operations that backfire, leaving the patient in a worse condition, with escalating pain. In a review of the 1450 patient database of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, it was found that of those who had back surgery there was a 41% increase in the use of back pain relief drugs. According to the study, there is some evidence to suggest that for many patients, surgeries which are design to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work. Similarly…. it is estimated that 50% of all lumbar fusions fail according to Bogduk and et al.
Back Surgery…..Patient selection
One of the most common causes of failed back surgery is improper preoperative patient selection. Normally, surgeons will look for an anatomic lesion in the spine which correlates with the pain patterns; some correlations will be more reliable than others. Thus, even though your MRI may show a tear or a disc herniation, this does not mean your pain is stemming from this area.
It is estimated by some studies that as high as 80% of people walking around have a bulging or herniated disc but don’t have pain. This means…. just because your MRI shows this finding, it doesn’t mean it is causing your pain.
Economic factors are also known to influence the success of spinal surgeries. Litigation and workers compensation create the confounding variable of gain which can affect the patient’s motivation to improve. Several studies have shown that patients getting workers compensation have a poor response when compared to those who are not getting compensation when all the outcome variables are considered.
Behavioral factors are also known to affect postoperative outcomes according to a study which was done involving 4,555 patients. The study revealed that people who smoked and regularly used analgesics had a worse walking ability after surgery, and their quality of life was inferior compared to non-smokers. The study indicated that smoking is linked to greater complications after surgery, due to increased infections and impaired wound healing.