Recovering from sciatica surgery is always a challenge and many potential pitfalls can extend recuperation time significantly. There are a few different varieties of surgical approaches used to treat sciatica and all will have certain guidelines which must be followed in order to insure a complete and expeditious recovery for the patient.
Failure to follow doctor’s advice and recommendations can cause complications and retard the recuperation process. However, even when the patient does everything perfectly, statistics demonstrate that many examples of sciatica surgery will still fail, either immediately or eventually, making invasive procedures out to be poor treatment choices for most patients.
This article will detail why some sciatica treatment procedures fail and how you can increase your chances of achieving a satisfying and successful surgical result.
Recovering from Sciatica Surgery Procedures
If the diagnosis of whatever structural issue theorized to be sourcing the pain is correct, and surgery is truly indicated, then the patient stands a good chance of actually being cured, as long as the surgeon does their job and performs the operation with care and precision. This goes for virtually any type of surgery, with spinal fusion being the outstanding exception to the rule. Other procedures should be able to correct spinal abnormalities or muscular issues which are causing sciatica without too great a risk for future recurrence.
Discectomy fares about the worst of the usual procedures, which may also include foraminotomy and laminectomy, since many patients experience a re-herniation of the same disc or a herniation in a nearby disc at some point after surgery.
However, spinal fusion, by nature, imposes escalated degenerative risk and will accelerate spinal deterioration in surrounding vertebral and intervertebral levels exponentially. This is why it is so common to see even the best fusions go wrong after a number of years. The result? Typically, the patient will have to undergo additional fusions over time. It can be a horrific process akin to medieval torture.
Successfully Recovering from Spinal Surgery
Patients who enjoy complete symptomatic amelioration are in the minority. Results are statistically better immediately after surgery, but tend to deteriorate with time. This is why most procedures are deemed failures over timelines of 7 years. However, here are some factors which can help you to achieve success in your surgical endeavors:
Always shop around for the best surgeon. Every doctor is different and few factors will influence your results more than your choice of sciatica surgeon.
Be sure to also choose the least invasive procedure which can accomplish the surgical objective. Less invasive usually means a quicker and more complete recovery for most postoperative patients.
Always utilize professional rehabilitation services when they are available. Physical therapy is great for getting back to full functionality after any operation.
Be wary of using and/or abusing pain management products. Many patients develop dependency issues after surgery.
Recovering from Sciatica Surgery Failures
It is no surprise that many sciatica surgeries are failures, immediately or eventually. This is not typically due to surgical error or iatrogenesis on the part of the surgeon, but is most often due to misdiagnosis of the actual source of pain. If the diagnosed source is not correctly identified, than any subsequent operation will not be treating the true reason for the symptoms to exist. Of course the procedure will fail.
Surgery can act as a powerful placebo, even in cases of misdiagnosis, but the body or mind will eventually overcome the placebo effect and symptoms will begin anew, most commonly with renewed fury worse than the original expression. This is true for both structural and psychogenic sciatica concerns which have been misdiagnosed.
In my experience, this misdiagnosis is usually why most sciatica treatment is so unsuccessful and is also the reason why so few patients see permanent relief using surgical intervention.
Recuperating from Sciatica Surgery Help
You may have already had surgery, so hopefully your diagnosis was right. There is no way to be sure at this point, so you just have to do whatever you can to increase the chances for successful resolution of your pain by finishing the recovery process to the best of your ability.
Be sure to provide yourself with aftercare as recommended by your physician. Take time and effort to rehabilitate yourself, as advised, and keep a positive mindset. These factors will all help you to get better faster.
If you are lucky, then you will feel better after the procedure and if you are really fortunate, then this relief may last for weeks, months or even years. That would be fantastic and even permanent cures are possible when the diagnostic theory is sound and all other factors fall into place.
If you do not enjoy this type of success, be careful about readily accepting the usual advice for follow-up surgical procedures. If the first operation fails, what makes you think the second, third or tenth will succeed?
Remember, misdiagnosis of the actual painful source process is the most common reason for this failed sciatica surgery to occur. This will not change no matter how many operations you eventually have perpetrated against you.