Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: Utilizing Chiropractic Care and Spinal Decompression Therapy

Failed back surgery

Failed back surgery syndrome is the result of patients that have had bad results from conservative care, or didn't do enough care and ended up with a spinal surgery. Back pain is a common, chronic condition that affects over 31 million Americans, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Not only does it greatly impact the social, financial, and mental state of one’s life, it can also lead to physical disability and absence at work. The estimated cost of spine and back surgery in Houston ranges between $50,000 to $90,000 and can take as long as 6 months to a year from which to recover.

Lower back pain is a big problem and the possibility increases vastly with age. Many begin experiencing back pain as early as their 20s and while few may recover, those with failed back surgery syndrome experience longer and more difficult recovery times and some are plagued with the pain the rest of their lives. 

What Is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Failed back surgery syndrome, often also known as post-laminectomy syndrome, occurs when a patient suffers from lumbar spine pain and surgery to rectify it has failed. When surgery is not able to treat or correct lumbar spine pain, patients are left with longstanding, chronic, and often intolerable back and leg pain.

The lumbar spine makes up the lower part of the back that provides structural support and movement. The bony lumbar spine consists of vertebrae that are meant to protect from spinal cord injuries and provide function and movement to the body. Pain in the lower back could be caused by many different reasons including lumbar strain, pinched nerve, and other conditions of the bone and joints.

The Journal of Pain Research published a review stating that the failure rate of back pain surgeries is over 74 percent. This alarming percentage of non-recoveries is a prime example of how many people continue to live in pain and agony after surgery.

The purpose of spine or back surgery is to stabilize a joint that is experiencing chronic pain, and/or to decompress the root of a nerve that might be pinched. A high number of cases however continue to experience pain, discomfort, and much disappointment from failed surgeries and continue to rely on heavy doses of pain medication or expensive medical treatments that need to be continued for years to come. Some patients even consider surgery revision to rectify the problem. This however should be the last attempt or option when experiencing failed back surgery syndrome.

Services That Work Best For This Condition

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personalized chiropractic care

Chiropractic Care


Spinal X-Rays

spinal decompression

Spinal Decompression

pemf therapy

PEMF Therapy

Causes of Failed Surgery and Continued Back Pain After Surgery

There are numerous reasons that result in failed back surgery syndrome.

Misdiagnosis of pain etiology

An accurate preoperative diagnosis of the patient’s cause of pain is one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of surgery. Diagnosing the source and cause of a patient’s back or spine pain increases the chances of being able to correct the problem through surgery. 

Post-surgery rehabilitation

A person's mental and physical state are important, as much as treatment follow-ups are. A patient who is active and proactive is most likely to recover faster than a patient who does not make the effort to exercise or retains a negative mindset about the possibilities of recovery.


A person who has excessive weight or is extremely overweight could experience greater difficulty during and post-surgery.

Degenerative changes to the spine

After back or spine surgery, biomechanical changes to the area can cause a progression of degenerative changes that can increase tension or result in central stenosis. Spinal stenosis happens when the spaces in your spine begin narrowing or getting smaller and exert pressure on the nerves in and around the spine and lower back area. Untreated stenosis can lead to permanent nerve damage and paralysis. In central stenosis, the central canal of the spine becomes constricted with ligament or bony overgrowth.

The Basis of Good Chiropractic Care After Failed Spinal Surgery 

Chiropractic care administered by a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic is a beneficial, cost-effective, and non-invasive treatment option for those suffering from failed back surgery syndrome. Experienced, knowledgeable chiropractors have used controlled and specific adjustments for over 100 years with incredible results to reduce joint pain and restore mobility in patients struggling with pain post-surgery. Chiropractic care is suggested to be included as part of a treatment plan in the early phase to increase success rates and help reduce chronic low back pain resulting from failed back surgery syndrome.

The technique, known as spinal manipulation, is a continued, non-surgical process that treats and relieves chronic pain post-surgery using chiropractic adjustments to the lumbar spine and lower back region. A chiropractor will first ask about past injuries, your experience in surgery, and other medical and health factors that contribute to your low back pain and need for surgery. The most commonly used treatment is typically done by hand and involves tactful adjustments in the joints that help realign the bones.

For patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome, chiropractic treatment aims at increasing mobility and functionality using short lever spinal thrust manipulation. This technique is applied to vertebrae that are misaligned, abnormal, or out of place, and helps reduce irritable nerves while restoring movement and functionality in the low back region.

In addition, chiropractic mobilization that involves low velocity manipulation, as well as the stretching of muscles and joints aim at increasing range of motion in the low back area.

Additional treatments and recommendations such as massages, hot/cold compress, exercises, and dietary management could also be administered depending on the condition of the patient and the extremity of pain. Visits often last between 30 to 60 minutes and a thorough assessment is always a part of your first visit.

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

Non-surgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction therapy that relieves and treats pain effectively through a series of gentle stretching of specific, targeted areas of the spine. This form of therapy, which is different and stronger than conventional traction therapy, is extremely effective in providing pain relief for patients struggling with failed back surgery syndrome and chronic low back pain caused by sciatica, disc degeneration, lumbar disc herniations, pinched nerves, and other spinal and lower back ailments.

Unlike invasive and painful treatments and surgery, non-surgical spinal decompression uses techniques that are relaxing and soothing, effectively reducing pain while enhancing mobility and functionality. It reduces pressure off spinal disks, nerves, and other structures in the spine, promoting the movement of fluids and oxygen for quicker healing.

It's so comfortable that many patients fall asleep during non-surgical spinal decompression!

Benefits of Chiropractic Care & Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

When done by a trained health care professional and administered with care, chiropractic and non-surgical spinal decompression treatments can become an integral part of reducing low back pain from failed back surgery syndrome.

There are many health benefits to receiving these treatments when you are experiencing failed back surgery syndrome including,

Pain reduction and management

Chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression is highly effective at reducing low back pain that continues or is worsened after back or spine surgery. Patients who struggle with failed back surgery syndrome are great candidates for these treatments and many patients claim to experience relief shortly after beginning treatments.

When chiropractic care is administered correctly by a trained chiropractor and is done on a regular basis, patients enjoy the benefits of effective pain management and reduction without the use of pharmaceuticals, addictive pain medication, or further surgery and invasive treatment options.

Improved joint mobility and functionality

The gentle techniques of chiropractic treatments help increase range of motion in patients who experience pain, joint stiffness, or temporary and partial paralysis due to failed back surgery syndrome. By aligning joints and vertebrae in the lower back region, patients are able to function more efficiently and with long-term care and treatment, can regain close-to-normal movements and structural support for their lower backs.

Prevention of chronic back pain

Regular, long-term, and consistent chiropractic care can have great benefits to the management and prevention of chronicity. Ongoing chiropractic treatment and follow up helps to ensure that any ailments or conditions are detected early and are treated before the pain sets in again. Many conditions such as misalignment of bones and pinched nerves can be cared for early to prevent chronic low back pain from reoccurring and causing further discomfort and agony.

Decreases joint and tissue degeneration

The condition of the degeneration of joints and connective tissue, also known as arthritis, is a very common concern especially in the later stages of life. After failed back surgery syndrome, the probability of the progression of degenerative joints and tissue is higher and poses a risk of perpetuating pain and discomfort. Ongoing chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression treatments help to decrease the process of degeneration in the joints and connective tissue.

Improves functions of the nerve system

Chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression treatment options aim at relieving pressure and stress on joints, connective tissue, and the ligaments in between the vertebrae. By aligning and gentle extending the spaces within the spine, these treatments when administered regularly can release pressure on the nerves within the spinal region and its surrounding areas.

This provides great comfort to patients in pain from failed back surgery syndrome and with ongoing care, can improve the nerve system and support nerve functions to carry impulses more effectively and efficiently.

Enhanced physical health 

Patients who have experienced relief from pain and discomfort due to failed back surgery syndrome can enjoy enhanced physical health, mobility, and functionality again. With consistent treatments from a trained and experienced chiropractor, physical health is greatly improved by being able to perform daily tasks and chores, participate in normal activities, exercise and do strength training, and also being physically active for family or children.

Chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression also helps strengthen the immune system, improves organ functions, and increases energy.

Enhanced social health

Anyone who has suffered from failed back surgery syndrome or chronic back pain in general knows that your social life and health are greatly affected. The reduction and management of pain and discomfort can greatly enhance your social health by enabling you to participate in regular social activities and stay active within your social circle.

Improved mental health

Depression and anxiety are common mental health ailments among patients suffering from failed back surgery syndrome. The disappointment and post-surgery pain extremities cause great stress on our mental health. Not being able to function normally and refraining from regular physical activity can cause a decline in mental health and wellness, and even worse put the patient in a bulk of depression among many other mental health problems.

Chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression helps to relieve stress and enhance mental health by ridding your body of the cause of stress and pain in a non-invasive, gentle, and relaxing way. Methods used in these treatments are extremely gentle on the body and promote mental health wellness, decrease stress and its effects on your mind and body, and improves sleep.

You Don't Have to Live in Pain...

Many people struggling with failed back surgery syndrome think that because of the negative impact of such an important surgery, their lives are destined to be drained by pain and exclusion from living a normal life. The truth though is far from this.

There is strong evidence and research that supports the effectiveness of chiropractic treatments. Coupled with a good recovery plan, exercise, and attitude, your pain can be reduced and treated.

While you may be suffering from extreme pain that seems incurable, you do have options that do not require expensive surgeries or medications. Chiropractic care and non-surgical spinal decompression techniques and treatment plans are available to you in Houston and can free you of a life of pain and struggle. Knowing who to turn to and being able to verify the expertise and experience of a chiropractor is your first step to reducing your pain from failed back surgery syndrome.

As with any chiropractic or new alternative medicine treatment, it is essential to ensure that your chiropractor is informed about your health condition and a pre-evaluation is performed prior to beginning any treatment. A reputable chiropractor with the necessary experience in treating failed back surgery syndrome in Houston is a great alternative to living in pain.

Having Failed Back Surgery Syndrome doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of back pain. 

Let CORE Chiropractic help you get back on track with personalized chiropractic care, spinal decompression and a custom treatment plan. Call today for your consultation, or schedule an appointment.