Failed Back Surgery?

Just a few weeks ago I met a young man who told me his main reason for visiting my office is “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”. I knew several people who have undergone back surgery and many of them told me that there was no change in symptoms after the surgery. I had no idea that there was a “Syndrome” in regards to this and it sounds like this happens rather frequently.  Is there a “Syndrome” for this?

Well, great question. First of all, it always depends on how you measure a successful surgery. If “the patient survives and the surgery was performed” is one way of looking at it. I am looking at it differently: There should be a positive change in function as well as in pain levels.

That being said, I examined this young man and he did have a spinal fusion performed in his lower back. According to him, his pain levels increased after the surgery and he seems worse off than before. So, I had to break the bad news to him: I cannot adjust anymore in an area that has been surgically fused. However, I can adjust near this area and this can often give patients tremendous results.

To understand it better, one has to remember that there are many vertebrae that make up spinal joints. When two or more are being fused together, these segments don’t move anymore and nearby segments have to make up for the loss of motion. Since the surgery didn’t give the patient any relief, one can deduct that it hasn’t been performed in the correct area and this is when precise adjustments come into play.

I was able to adjust this young man’s spine (very, very carefully if I may add) and he slowly started to increase in his range of motion. After a few weeks he noticed a significant decrease in pain to a point where he was able to start his physical activities again. To be honest, I am looking forward to seeing how much better he will get. Thank you for letting me share this very special case!