Post-Surgical Pain Management through Physiatry

Unfortunately, back surgeries can often result in extended pain. There are several reasons for post-operative pain:

• Scar tissue may form after back surgery, causing compression on the nerves (and therefore inflammation and pain);
• Some back surgeries (spinal fusion surgery in particular) are extremely invasive and change the normal shape and functioning of the spine; and
• When back surgery fails, back pain is likely to continue. (There is a 53% failure rate for low back pain surgeries*; this is a major reason that Physiatrists recommend surgery only when absolutely required.)

For some patients, post-operative pain leads to a loss of normal functioning and—to make matters worse—often means they are unable to take advantage of physical therapy and rehabilitation.

Fortunately, Physiatrists are pain management specialists; the Physiatrist at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation has a number of minimally invasive, non-surgical methods of relieving pain. These might include:

Epidural Steroid Injections: The injection of a corticosteroid in the epidural space (the area that surrounds the spinal sac and provides cushioning for the nerves and spinal cord).

Facet Joint Injections: Injections that are administered in the facet joints, located between the vertebrae of each spinal segment. The purpose of this type of injection is to treat pain and inflammation in the joints of the spine.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections: Injections are concentrated on the Sacroiliac Joint, which is found between the sacrum (the bone in the lower portion of the spine, below the lumbar spine) and the right and left iliac (pelvic) bones.

Other non-surgical pain management techniques that may be used after surgery include joint injections, sympathetic nerve blocks, and trigger point injections.

At Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation, we use a number of imaging techniques, including Fluoroscopy and Ultrasound. Both types of technology provide real-time, moving images, which can assist with both diagnosis (mainly done with Ultrasound), or for Fluoroscopic- or Ultrasound-guided injections. This improves the accuracy and effectiveness of injections.