Lower back pain is one of the most prevalent health complaints from adults, affecting 60 to 80 percent of the global population. For many people, back pain is minimal and manageable. However, for those suffering from chronic back pain, surgery may be their best option.

Unfortunately, surgery may not yield desired results and may even result in complications such as increased pain and discomfort. It's unfortunate to experience a failed back surgery, but there is hope for living a pain-free life.

Understanding What Failed Back Surgery Means

If you experienced complications after a back or spinal surgery like discomfort, you might be suffering from failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). The term "failed back surgery" can be misleading as it doesn't necessarily mean anything went wrong during surgery. Instead, a failed back surgery refers to any back or spine surgery that didn't result in the desired outcome. Everything leading up to the surgery, during the surgery, and after the surgery can go according to plan, but if you don't feel improvements after recovery, it's considered a "failure."

Many factors contribute to the success of the surgery. Those who struggle with obesity or smoking are at a higher risk of complications during and after surgery. Some research also suggests that those with depression and anxiety also have a higher risk of having failed back surgery. Before undergoing surgery, be sure to discuss risk factors with your surgeon.

Signs of a Failed Back Surgery

Everyone experiences various obstacles after surgery, but there are some common signs that your back or spinal surgery may not have met your or your surgeon's expectations.

Chronic Pain Post-Surgery: Feeling pain after major surgery is not uncommon. However, the severity of the pain should reduce daily or weekly. If the pain level stays consistent, it's likely due to complications.

  • Severe Weakness: Your back or spine should feel stronger after surgery. Complications of back surgery could result in severe weakness in the back, neck or legs.
  • Nerve Pain: Sometimes, scar tissue forms around the surgical site and puts pressure on nerve roots, causing a pinched nerve feeling. The most common places to experience nerve pain are the lower back and leg.
  • New Pain: Your procedure can reduce the original pain, but you'd don't want to leave the surgery with pain somewhere new. The new pain may occur in the back, but it could also develop in the legs or neck.
  • Muscle Cramps and Spasms: You may experience muscle cramps or spasms early in recovery, but your muscles shouldn't feel tight once you've recovered. Talk to your doctor if you have sudden muscle spasms or leg cramps that cause trouble walking.
  • Headaches: If you start experiencing unexplained headaches after recovery, talk to your doctor as it could signal nerve damage.
  • Reduced mobility: Once you've recovered, you should have strong mobility in your back, neck, and legs. You shouldn't struggle to rotate your neck or your back or walk.

If you experience a fever, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, or a loss of bowel or bladder control after surgery, contact your doctor immediately as these may be signs of a more severe condition.

What to do if You had a Failed Back Surgery

If you're suffering from pain after recent back surgery, know there are options available to reduce pain. At Mocek Spine Clinic, we offer advanced spine care solutions and treatment plans designed to relieve chronic pain so you can continue living with the least amount of pain possible. If you'd like to learn more about our services, give us a call at 501.224.4001 or schedule an appointment online.