Failed Back Surgery

back pain

An amazingly high percentage of back surgeries are considered “failed”, that is they do NOT cure the patients back pain or return normal function of the back that would allow them to lead a normal life.

Consider this quote and its implications:

“Many patients who have undergone spine surgery, however, frequently continue to experience symptoms that require revision surgery. In the lumbar spine, the failure rate has been reported to be as high as 37% after lumbar fusion and as high as 30% after lumbar surgery without fusion.[8] Careful patient selection and meticulous surgical technique may decrease the need for revision surgery. Even with these precautions, however, the need for revision spinal surgery cannot be avoided in many cases.”

There is no such thing as a “minor” back surgery because the spine contains nerves that control most of the bodies functions. One small nick to a nerve can cause loss of motor control and in rare cases paralysis.

Unfortunately in the United States today back surgery is many times the first treatment protocol to be offered instead of trying to correct the problem and avoid surgery.

Most people, when faced with serious back pain problems in Fountain Valley CA, contact their medical Doctor who then refers people to the Orthopedist, someone who is trained to do surgeries.

This is not to rule out surgery as a viable option, it is warranted in some cases, but as a last resort as opposed to the first line of treatment for back pain problems. When the decision has been reached that back surgery is the preferred means of treatment the patient should always opt for the least invasive surgery possible as these also carry the least risk.

A back surgery is considered failed when either it didn’t work at all in terms of eliminating or reducing back pain and normal function or the symptoms return shortly, and sometimes they are worse, in the six month to two year range. If a person has had back surgery but the previous debilitating pain now prevents them from doing normal daily activities this can be considered Failed Back Surgery.

At this point the back pain patient generally returns to his or her surgeon or is referred to pain management program where they are given epidural injections or prescribed heavy pain medications which can be highly addictive narcotics. The patient thus finds themselves back at square one but tens of thousands of dollars poorer.

The back pain patient’s options at this point are epidural injections for pain, another back surgery (usually a spinal fusion surgery) or a neural stimulator. The patient is left in a state of instability where getting dressed, even putting on socks, is a painful, time consuming chore. Sitting in a chair for work or sitting in a car for a long drive are next to impossible and even moving their foot from the gas pedal to the brake is hampered. Clearly this is not sustainable or safe and their quality of life has been diminished.

This is really the issue: to return a person’s normal function and thus quality of life. In this pursuit there are many options, some that even the average chiropractor won’t see. We have the experience, skills and ability to address these really challenging cases. Recall that we are realists: surgery is sometimes necessary. Please see us first to exhaust all possible non-surgical treatment options. If that time comes we can refer you to minimally invasive surgeons.

If your symptoms lead you to suspect that you are suffering from failed back surgery please feel free to contact Valentine Chiropractic.


9:00am - 6:30pm

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9:00am - 6:30pm


9:00am - 12:00pm

By Appointment
2nd Saturday of Month

Valentine Chiropractic
17955 Magnolia Street Suite B
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 964-9566

"When I started coming to the office, I had been suffering with terrible headaches for 15 days out of every month. After 6 months of agony, I was referred to Valentine Chiropractic. On the day of my first adjustment, the headache I walked in with completely disappeared. My quality of life has improved so tremendously, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without Valentine Chiropractic. Thank you!!"

Leah Dee

Valentine Chiropractic
17955 Magnolia Street Suite B
Fountain Valley, CA 92708