Reflexology for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: A Case Series 

Poster presented at the International Symposium ALGOS 2017, May 25-28, 2017 

S. Raptopoulou, E. Stavropoulou, E. Argyra, A. Vadalouca
A’ Anesthesiology Department, Pain and Palliative Care Center, Aretaeion Hospital, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 

Background-Aim: As the recent years there is an increase of spine surgeries, failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) prevalence is also rising. While complementary therapies are commonly used in this syndrome, there are no studies reporting use of reflexology(R). R has the ability to reduce the intensity and cognitive aspects of pain because it has an impact on perceptual mechanisms; We are presenting the beneficial effect of this method in two patients with FBSS.

Methods
1st case: A man 49 years old has been operated 8 years ago for lumbar spinal fusion. His VAS score before the operation was 9 and 10 daily immediately after. For the following 8 years he was taking paracetamol, NSAIDS, opioids and antidepressants with minor improvement (VAS 7-8). He received 9 sessions of Reflexology.

2nd case: A man 58 years old had cervical spine fusion 11 years ago. 10 years after he started to feel the same pain (VAS=7-9) and received NSAIDS, paracetamol, muscle relaxants, codeine and tramadol with little amelioration (VAS=6-7). He received 10 sessions of R.

We attended VAS score , functionality and mood of both patients for 3 months.

Results: Both patients showed reduction of VAS score, improvement of functionality and mood more than 50% that lasted for at least 3 months without any adverse effects

Conclusion: Reflexology is an innocuous and relatively inexpensive complementary therapy that may offer satisfactory pain relief, advanced workability and spirit in FBSS but further investigation is needed to prove its exact effectiveness.

Keywords: reflexology, failed back surgery syndrome, FBSS,  spine, pain, chronic pain, spinal fusion