Skip to content

Failed Back Syndrome

Failed back syndrome refers to chronic back or neck pain, with or without extremity pain, which can occur if spine surgery does not achieve the desired result. Contributing factors include recurrent disc herniation, compressed nerves, altered joint mobility, scar tissue, muscle deconditioning and degeneration of facet or sacroiliac joints. The expert surgeons at Texas Spine Associates have extensive experience in treating failed back surgery syndrome. Our surgeons offer accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment for a variety of spinal conditions. To learn more about treatments and causes of Failed Back Syndrome, request a consultation at any of our offices. Or you can call us at (972) 987-0969 to schedule your appointment.

Symptoms of Failed Back Syndrome

Patients with failed spinal surgery have either a new or persistent pain in the back or legs following spine surgery. The pain may be similar to the pain experienced before surgery, or it could be a new pain of a different degree or in a different spot. The location, timing, duration and magnitude of the pain all help determine the cause.


Dr. Neil Shah and Dr. Vishal Patel will review the treatment history, particularly the type of surgery done and for what reason. Particular attention is paid to the result of the surgery and how the symptoms have evolved following the surgery. X-rays and physical examination will also be performed. Additional diagnostic testing may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and the true source of pain. These tests can include MRI with Contrast, CT Myelography, Selective Nerve Root Blocks, and Hardware Blocks.


Once Dr. Shah, Dr. Patel, or Dr. Happ a diagnosis has been identified and confirmed, initial treatment should initially be conservative and involve physical therapy, oral medication management including NSAIDS, activity modifications and injections. These conservative modalities can be tailored to match the diagnosis with special consideration being given to the original surgery.

If surgical management is necessary, the type of surgery varies depending on the reason for the failed surgery. Surgical treatment may include repeat lumbar decompression, adjacent level spinal fusion, revision spinal fusion, removal of painful hardware, or a spinal cord stimulator.