The incidence of post-surgical low back pain in patients who have been subjected to general anæsthesia or epidural has been found to be about 20%. The aim of this paper is to raise awareness about the ætiology, clinical recognition and prevention of post-surgical low back pain. The case of a 51 year old male is detailed. He had a 5-year history of severe low back pain following surgery to his right wrist for DeQuervain's syndrome. He also reported lower extremity pain, greater on the right, and stomach cramps. The patient's ability to walk was limited and pain was aggravated by sitting, standing still, lying down and walking. Little seemed to relieve the pain. Referral to various orthopædic surgeons and neurologists had proved fruitless, and no diagnosis for his symptoms had been established. After conservative, non-manipulative care by chiropractors, an MRI Scan and referral to another orthopædic surgeon, a diagnosis of central disc protrusion was established. It has been noted that patients who are anæsthetised for 40 minutes or longer, seem to be at a greater risk of subsequent low back pain. It is this factor and a combination of muscle relaxants and poor patient support that appear to contribute to the outcome of post surgical low back pain.
Author keywords: Anesthesia, epidural, general; Back pain; Chiropractic; Muscle relaxants; Post-operative complications