Failed Back Surgery aka Post-Surgical Continued Pain


Have you had back surgery and still suffer from pain, discomfort, or sciatica? You are not alone, 20-40% of people have continued or worsening back pain after back surgery and only two years after the surgery 1 in 4 people is dissatisfied with the results. The reoccurrence of back pain after surgery is so prevalent that there is an insurance coded condition called Failed Back Surgical Syndrome (FBSS) or more recently updated to post-laminectomy syndrome.


Low back surgery fails for many reasons

Surgery done for the wrong reason
Many people with pain in the back and leg receive a MRI, the MRI shows many things around the spine, like bulging discs and degeneration, but it is not always clear what is causing the pain. The surgery attempts to fix the anatomy with hopes that the pain will go away.

Subsequent Degeneration around the Surgical Area
Surgery is an invasive procedure and can irritate local structures, which causes increased degeneration. Increased disc degeneration can lead to pain in the low back and down the leg.
Scar Tissue Build Up
There are many structures in the low back, including muscles, nerves, ligaments, and bones. These must be cut, altered, and sewed back up during surgery. After the surgery these structures now heal and leads to scarring and adhesion build up around the nerve root. To avoid this your surgeon should recommend chiropractic, physical therapy, and/or rehabilitation to start immediately after surgery. 


Symptoms of FBSS

24 week Post-Surgical scar for lumbar decompression. Note the redness and healing that is still ongoing months after the surgery.

24 week Post-Surgical scar for lumbar decompression. Note the redness and healing that is still ongoing months after the surgery.

  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Chronic Leg Pain
  • Sciatica 
  • Depression
  • Unable to Work Properly
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Pain with sex

In Office Treatment

Everything done in our office is evidence-based, non-invasive, safe, and cost effective. 

Chiropractic adjustments
The adjustments will help mobilize the joints surrounding the spine. These areas get 'stuck' or have trouble moving when there is a build up of scar tissue.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A TENS unit is a pain relieving device that is used to contract the nerve fibers to release endorphins, a natural pain killer made in the body.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM)/Graston
IASTM uses specific tools to address scar tissue and myofascial restrictions. This will help increase optimal range of motion and decrease scar tissue adhesions in the body. This is a very effective treatment for chronic conditions. 

Muscle Release Technique/Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are small tightly contracted muscles that have an isolated spasm, also called a muscle knot. The therapy can help loosen the tight muscles and allow the body to function optimally. This is helpful for the smaller muscles (layer 6 of back muscles).