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Back pain after surgery

Started by Jonticchi on 06/05/2017 10:01pm

It's been 1yr 4months since my triple level back decompression.L3.L4.L5. For the last 5 months I have been seeing a pain management doctor. For injections and on pain medication with no relief. My wife wants me to see a different surgeon and I don't what to do anymore. Just want to stop taking pills. But it helps me get through the work day.
I just want my life back before the pain......

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It is not uncommon to have persistent pain following back surgery. This can be due to many reasons. After 1 1/2 years, a re-evaluation by a spine surgeon seems appropriate. Sometimes discs re-herniate or things change and a re-evaluation in helpful.
An interventional pain physician can often provide relief with injections such as epidural steroid injections, SI joint injections, facet injections, etc. Often these fairly simple injections do not provide lasting relief of several months or longer. However, they are rarely permanent solutions and may need to be repeated every so often.
If they do not provide lasting benefit, diagnostic injections such as diagnostic medial branch blocks or discography may be considered along with updating of imaging studies in an effort to identify the specific cause (primary pain generator) that is responsible for the ongoing pain. Sometimes additional surgery is indicated but often it is not. Sometimes nerve ablation with radiofrequency or neuromodulation using a spinal cord stimulator can dramatically reduce chronic pain. Often, titrating off of opiates with the help of a physician can result in overall lower pain levels.
With chronic pain, there is rarely a quick fix or an isolated solution. Like hypertension or diabetes, chronic pain is a long term management issue, not a "fix it an forget it" issue.
Complete elimination of pain is usually an unrealistic expectation. However, getting pain to a tolerable level can often be achieved with a multidisciplinary approach.
Accurate diagnosis, as much as is possible, is an important step in identifying the best course of action for long term maximum function and quality of life. I wish you well in your journey to recovery.

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