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Back Pain After Surgery

Patients with pain after back surgery

Recently, researchers found that doctors have an over-reliance on MRIs in helping patients with back pain and that the MRI may be leading doctors down the wrong trail in offering future treatment guidelines.1 Furthermore, doctors are frequently requesting MRIs for weak or various reasons that may not reveal the true cause of the patient’s discomfort.2

Did the MRI cause pain after back surgery?

There are many things that can cause spinal instability and back pain in Boyton Beach. Unfortunately, we see many patients who have an over reliance on what the MRI is suggesting. Sometimes new patients will come in with the worse MRI imaginable containing significant visual proof of herniation.

But is that what is really causing the pain? The MRI shows a disc problem, but it may not show ligament strain or sprain. It may not show muscle spasms. Soft tissue injury can cause significant pain and instability. While the herniated disc causes no pain, if captured on film it will send the patient off to a surgical recommendation and a date for fusion or other procedure.

Columbia University did research that confirmed the problems of MRI: “of 274 patients seen in consultation in a single year, 45 were scheduled for “unnecessary surgery.” Further, while these patients did experience pain, a vague MRI sent them for a surgery while there “was no clear surgical procedure that would benefit the patient.” 3

In other research, it was noted that MRI alone may provide insufficient or inaccurate information upon which to base surgical/technical decisions in about of 30% of cases.4

Simply put, if the back surgery is not addressing the true cause of the pain, then that pain will not be healed and the patient will have to be subjected to a surgery that could lead to significantly more pain.

Research like that above may confirm what many already know. The reason a back surgery will fail to provide relief is that the patient agreed to receive the wrong treatment. Making the situation worse as now there is a need for a “revision” surgery, a second or third surgery to fix the first surgery. If you have back pain in Boyton Beach, give us a call today.

1. Steffens D, Hancock MJ, Maher CG, Williams C, Jensen TS, Latimer J. Does magnetic resonance imaging predict future low back pain? A systematic review. Eur J Pain. 2013 Nov 26. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2013.00427.x. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Balagué F, Dudler J. [Imaging in low back pain: limits and reflexions]. Rev Med Suisse. 2013 Jun 26;9(392):1351-2, 1354-6, 1358-9.

3. Epstein NE, Hood DC. “Unnecessary” spinal surgery: A prospective 1-year study of one surgeon’s experience. Surg Neurol Int 2011;2:83 4. Weiner BK, Patel R. The accuracy of MRI in the detection of Lumbar Disc Containment. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 2008, 3:46