Decreased tibial nerve movement in patients with failed back surgery syndrome and persistent leg pain
To measure and compare the total and normalised tibial nerve movements during forward bending in patients with and without failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) and persistent leg pain following anatomically successful lumbar decompression surgery and demonstrated no psychological stress. Nerve pathomechanics may contribute to FBSS with persistent leg pain following anatomically successful lumbar decompression surgery.
Tibial nerve movement during forward bending was measured in two groups of patients following anatomically successful lumbar decompression surgery. FBSS group (N = 37) consisted of patients with persistent leg pain following lumbar surgery, and non-FBSS (N = 37) were patients with no remaining leg pain following lumbar surgery. Total and normalised tibial nerve movement at the popliteal fossa was measured by a previously validated ultrasound imaging technique and compared between the two groups, and also between the painful and non-painful leg within the FBSS group.
Both the mean total and normalised tibial nerve movement were significantly decreased in the FBSS group in both legs when compared to the non-FBSS group (P < 0.05). The total and normalised tibial nerve movements were also more restricted in the painful leg (P < 0.05) when compared to the non-painful side within the FBSS group.
This was the first study to quantify the decreased total and normalised tibial nerve mobility in FBSS patients with persistent leg pain when compared with non-FBSS patients following anatomically successful lumbar decompression surgery. Further research could investigate the efficacy of intervention, such as nerve mobilisation in this particular group of patients with failed back surgery syndrome and limited nerve mobility.
KeywordsFailed back surgery syndrome Neuropathic pain Sciatica Nerve movement Post-operative pain
The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom (13/SW/0029 and 14/NW/0110).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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