Why Most Back Surgeries Fail…

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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.
In fact…..
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


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


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.


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Technical Error During the Surgery


Technical error may be considered a cause if there is continued pain after the surgery. For instance, a fragment of herniated disc material may be missed or was there a piece of bone that was left adjacent to the nerve. Whatever the situation, the results could be pain which is due to compression of the nerve.


Another question that may be asked to assess whether a technical error occurred would be whether the correct levels were chosen during the surgical planning – if this was not done, then an adjacent disc may be where the back pain is originating. It is recommended that imaging and close examination of clinical presentations be carried out to help determine the cause.


The One Thing You Can Do To Find Back Pain Relief …


Surgery obviously has its risks but is also warranted at times. If you're not suffering from a medical condition that needs immediate surgery, you should consider our care for skilled physical therapy of your spine. If skilled therapy doesn't work, you can always consider surgery at a later date. To see if you're a great candidate for our services, be sure to check out all the ways we can assist you for your back pain by clicking here.


Lower Back Conditions We Treat…


To learn more about the different lower back conditions that we treat, you can check out our lower back and sciatica injuries that we treat. Click here to get started or by calling 239-223-0484



Top 10 ways that may eliminate or reduce your Low Back Pain or Sciatica




About Author: Dr. Scott Gray


Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. Contact our skilled therapists at Back In Motion Physical Therapy & Performance to get started on the road to pain relief!




“Physical Therapy, Fitness, & Performance Tips From Dr. Scott & the Back in Motion Team”