August 30

What If Back Surgery Doesn’t Work?

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) is a complex and often frustrating condition that affects individuals who have undergone spinal surgery but continue to experience chronic pain and limited mobility. While surgery is intended to provide relief, FBSS can occur due to various reasons, leaving patients in a state of discomfort and desperation. In this article, we delve into the causes and consequences of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome and shed light on how chiropractic care can offer a holistic and non-invasive approach to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for those affected.

Understanding Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, also known as post-laminectomy syndrome, refers to the persistent pain and limited functionality experienced by individuals after undergoing spinal surgery. It is estimated that around 20-40% of patients who undergo spinal surgery end up developing FBSS. The symptoms can include chronic pain, stiffness, muscle spasms, reduced mobility, and an overall decrease in the quality of life.

Causes of FBSS

Several factors contribute to the development of FBSS:

  1. Incomplete Resolution of the Problem: Sometimes, surgery may not completely address the underlying cause of the pain. This could be due to the complexity of the spinal issues or the difficulty in pinpointing the exact source of pain.
  2. Scar Tissue Formation: Surgical procedures can lead to the formation of scar tissue around the surgical site. This scar tissue can impinge on nerves and cause pain.
  3. Nerve Damage: Surgical interventions can inadvertently damage nearby nerves, leading to chronic pain and discomfort.
  4. Psychological Factors: The stress and emotional toll of living with chronic pain and undergoing multiple surgeries can contribute to the perception of pain and prolong the recovery process.
  5. Structural Instability: Spinal surgery can alter the biomechanics of the spine, potentially leading to instability and pain in the surrounding areas.

Chiropractic Care as a Solution

Chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and holistic approach to managing FBSS. Chiropractors are trained to identify misalignments and imbalances in the spine, known as subluxations, and use manual adjustments to correct them. This approach aims to restore proper spinal alignment, alleviate nerve pressure, and improve overall spinal function. Here’s how chiropractic care can help individuals suffering from FBSS:

  1. Pain Management: Chiropractors use a combination of spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapies, and lifestyle counseling to manage pain and reduce discomfort. By addressing the root causes of pain, chiropractic care can provide relief without resorting to medications or invasive procedures.
  2. Improving Mobility: FBSS can severely limit an individual’s range of motion. Chiropractic adjustments help restore proper joint function, enhance flexibility, and promote better movement.
  3. Reducing Inflammation: Inflammation is a common component of chronic pain. Chiropractic care can help reduce inflammation by improving blood circulation and promoting the body’s natural healing processes.
  4. Nerve Function: Chiropractic adjustments can relieve nerve pressure caused by misaligned vertebrae or scar tissue, potentially leading to a reduction in nerve-related pain.
  5. Holistic Approach: Chiropractors consider the body as a whole, addressing not only the physical aspects but also the emotional and psychological factors that contribute to pain perception. This comprehensive approach can positively impact the patient’s overall well-being.
  6. Avoiding Further Surgery: Chiropractic care offers a non-surgical alternative for managing FBSS. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who are hesitant to undergo additional surgical procedures or have been advised against them due to medical reasons.
  7. Patient Empowerment: Chiropractic care encourages active patient participation in the healing process through exercises, stretches, and lifestyle modifications. This empowers patients to take control of their health and well-being.


Failed Back Surgery Syndrome can significantly diminish the quality of life for those who have already undergone spinal surgery. Chiropractic care presents a promising avenue for managing FBSS by addressing its underlying causes and offering a holistic approach to pain relief and improved mobility. With its non-invasive nature and focus on restoring proper spinal alignment, chiropractic care stands as a valuable option for individuals seeking alternatives to conventional medical interventions. If you’re struggling with the aftermath of spinal surgery and the ongoing discomfort of FBSS, please schedule a consultation to determine if Apex Chiropractic can help.


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