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Is a Flare-Up or a Reherniated Disc Causing Your Pain?


If you've had surgery to address discomfort from a herniated disc, it's only natural to be concerned about any recurrence of symptoms. Two of the possible reasons you may experience some degree of noticeable discomfort after surgery are reherniation and occasional flare-ups. It's not always easy to tell the difference between the two, but there are some ways you can get a better idea of what may be going on.

When It's Most Likely a Flare-Up

If the entire disc wasn't removed, you may have occasional flare-ups. A "flare-up" refers to sudden spikes in pain that come and go. When discomfort tends to come and go fairly quickly, it's likely related to your activities or habits. This is more likely to be the case if you notice pain spikes seem to be related to:

• Times when you lift, twist, turn, reach, or bend
• Certain physical activities or exercises
• Specific times of the day, like when you first get up in the morning

Flare-ups can also be related to the soft tissues that indirectly support your spine. In this instance, you're overstressing muscles, tendons, or ligaments near your spine enough to cause inflammation and pain. Discomfort of this nature usually goes away once the inflammation subsides.

When Reherniation Is a Possibility

It's also important to be aware of when your discomfort shows up. If it's within the first few weeks after
back surgery, it may be from the natural healing and recovery process, especially if you've already started your physical therapy routine. If this is the case, talk to your doctor or physical therapist so appropriate adjustments can be made.

Reherniation is more likely to be a possibility if your renewed discomfort starts to become an issue a few weeks to several months after your initial surgery. The nature of the pain also tends to be a bit different than what happens with flare-ups. Classic symptoms and signs associated with disc reherniation include:

• Numbness and tingling sensations extending to nearby areas
• General muscle weakness extending from your back to lower extremities
• Pain and related symptoms that seem to linger and last longer

With reherniation, you may also notice your discomfort seems to be associated more with your movements than with strenuous activities or how you're sleeping. For example, symptoms might be triggered by simply getting up or sitting down.

Getting Answers & Solutions

The only way to know for sure what's causing your recurrence of symptoms is to talk to your doctor. Be as descriptive as possible about the nature and duration of your discomfort. Also, include details such as when your pain becomes noticeable and what you're usually doing at the time. If the doctor suspects flare-ups, he or she may advise you to modify your activities or be more mindful of your posture and how you sleep. If reherniation is a possibility, your doctor will likely order image tests to determine if this is the case. Even if it is, you may experience relief with nonsurgical treatments.

One of the main concerns with surgery is the significant risk of reherniation—where the same disc herniates again through a hole left after surgery. In fact, 70 percent of all reherniations come from large holes left behind in the disc. Fortunately, Barricaid is a bone-anchored barrier designed to close these holes, and it’s been proven 95 percent effective. This means 95 percent of Barricaid patients in a large-scale study didn’t undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in the 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and doesn’t require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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