Back pain can start with a dull ache progressing to shooting, or stabbing sensation. It can be uncomfortable and unbearable, especially if the pain is chronic, or severe. Suffering from back pain is not just a simple condition as is can affect the quality of your life. It may impact the social, financial and psychological aspects of the patient’s life.

Back pain is considered to be a worldwide problem, creating more increase in disability than any other conditions. In fact, studies show that 1 out of 10 people experience back pain and the only option for pain relief is through surgery. But in some cases, undergoing surgery doesn’t relieve their pain. Around 40% of patients continue to suffer from pain after their surgery, which is referred to as Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS).

What are the signs and symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)?


Dr. Eyad Alsabbagh, M.D of Pain Management & Spine Care defines the failed back surgery syndrome as a recurring and persistent pain for a person who previously had spinal surgery

Most patients with FBSS may feel like they have gotten better for a short while, but the pain may start to progress as time goes by. Aside from pain, some other symptoms may include:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities
  • Arm, or leg pain
  • Dull, diffused achy back pain
  • Reduced mobility
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting and fever
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Sudden loss of bowel, or bladder movement  

The symptoms of FBSS may also be similar to other spinal condition. Experts highly recommend being diagnosed by a certified spinal care specialist to guarantee proper accessment.  

What are the causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)

Failed back surgery syndrome has many contributing causes and it includes the following:

How is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome diagnosed

The spine care specialist may perform the following tests and assessments to properly diagnose the condition.

  • The doctor may initially perform a physical, neurologic and orthopedic examination. This is to evaluate the patient’s mobility, identify the affected spine area, and assess the strength and sensation of the site.
  • For a detailed recount of the symptoms, the physician may ask for the patient’s medical history to identify the main cause of the condition.
  • To further confirm the diagnosis, an imaging test such as X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is required to complete the assessment. A CT scan may be used if an MRI cannot be utilized.

Some other diagnostic test, such as electromyography (EMG), or Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS), may also be required alongside diagnostic injections. This is to detect the exact source of pain and to come up with the best treatment plan for the patient.

What are the treatment options of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

Depending on the severity of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, the treatment can be one of the following:

Further information about our spine care specialist Dr. Alsabbagh:

Dr. Eyad Alsabbagh, is a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.). He has special training in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of all forms of pain and gained extensive knowledge of the psychology of pain. He uses specialized methods to diagnose the cause of pain properly and provide high-quality treatment. His main goal is to help you regain your full function and quality of life.

If you have any additional questions about failed back surgery syndrome, please contact us and we will gladly assist you.



The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you Scar have regarding your health