Failed Back Surgery Syndrome is also known as post laminotomy syndrome. It occurs when someone has back surgery and experience pain in their lower back, low-pressure sensation or feeling of touchlessness on one side of the body, numbness or tingling sensations around the pelvis area (perineum), dysfunction issues, constipation, and bladder problems.

FBS can occur after any type of surgical procedure to the spine from a laminectomy to spinal fusion. Patients that have previously had an invasive operation will be at greater risk for Failed back surgery syndrome because it’s more difficult to predict how they may feel afterward due to not having experienced this before. This makes recovery less predictable. The symptoms appear months or years after the surgery.

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failed back surgery syndrome

What are the causes behind Failed back syndrome?

Many people have back pain and injury and they go for surgery. But, not all of them suffer from Failed Back Syndrome. So what is the cause of this rare condition? What causes it? The following article will take you through some of the most common symptoms and theories about how to treat Failed back surgery syndrome.

What are the Causes Behind Failed back syndrome:

Here are the causes which lead to failure of the spinal surgeries and the patient needs to revisit again and again for surgery.


In many cases, inactivity can lead to an individual not being able to move or lift their lower extremities as well which may result in a loss of muscle tissue; leading them into a situation where they cannot support themselves when standing up from a seated position. This makes things more difficult for those who need help getting out of bed or using the restroom because someone else has to be there to help them.


This is a condition where the joints and cartilage in the spine damages. Due to deterioration of those structures or even degenerative changes over time. The end result is that bones rub together without any cushioning as they grind each other down. This leads to discomfort, pain, stiffness, inflammation, and instability in the back.

Know more about Spondylitis: The Osteoarthritis of Spine

Herniated Discs

While this can attribute to chronic injury from repeated misuse of specific muscles (ex: lifting), trauma may also contribute significantly to disc herniation such as injuries sustained during an accident or fall. A herniated disc will put pressure on nerve roots causing excruciating pain and numbness around the area. It happens along with weakness and significant difficulty moving. While the compressed nerves can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in a certain area of the body.

Herniated Disc Surgery Risk

Spinal Stenosis

This is an age-related condition that increases with old age. And links to other conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, disc degeneration, and muscle spasms. These all result in the narrowing of the spinal canal. And additional pressure exerts on nerve roots (which may have incurred damage during surgery).

Spinal Stenosis

Common symptoms of Failed back surgery syndrome include:

  • Pain in the lower back, pelvis or perineum area;
  • Low pressure sensation on one side of the body (hemi paresthesia) and/or feeling touchless on that side;
  • Numbness or tingling sensations around the pelvic region;
  • Inability to walk without discomfort and abnormal gait pattern;
  • Constipation and bladder problems. Some patients may also experience sciatica. The pain usually worsenes by standing for long periods of time, bending over, sitting up straight from a reclining position and by coughing). It can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms mimic other back conditions.
  • Weakness in one or both of the legs;
  • Pain when sitting for long periods of time, bending over and standing up from a reclined position;
  • Decreased sensation on one side of their body (hemi paresthesia) and/or feeling touchless on that side. Symptoms may be intermittent with worsening pain episodes occurring spontaneously without warning). These patients will also experience an abnormal gait pattern;
  • Sciatica is often present as well as pain while walking which worsens by coughing or prolonged sitting. There are three types:
    • Type I sciatica causes numbness in the buttocks area,
    • The type II refers to shooting pains down either leg and
    • Type III happens by inflammation of the sacral nerve roots;
  • A history of back surgery and a family history (genetic predisposition) are risk factors.

Tackling the Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: An Ayurvedic Way

The best way to treat Failed back surgery syndrome is with Panchakarma therapies, restorative yoga, and Ayurvedic medicines. While there’s no known cure for it with modern medicines, many patients find relief in these treatments which improve their quality of life. The second choice with patients is- Revision Surgeries.

Typically people who have experienced Failed back surgery syndrome will need six months of intensive rehabilitation. Before they can be released from care without experiencing symptoms again but some may take up to two years to fully recover. The patient should also avoid bending over, sitting up straight from a reclined position, and walking long distances as well as any other activities that aggravate the pain.

Failed spinal surgeries are a serious problem due to the high mortality rates and complications. Surgery is not always successful. But when it does work, it can be an effective treatment for herniated discs or degenerative disc disease. Chances are always less for this.

A failed surgery could have been caused by any number of factors including infection from bacteria that was left behind after the operation or inadequate pain management post-operation.

Other causes include sepsis from invasive medical procedures like surgery or injection sites, such as the death of tissue at the site where local anesthesia was administered during a procedure; blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) in deep veins near joints; bladder ulcers associated with urinary catheter insertion; pulmonary embolism associated with long periods of immobility; heart attack associated with the stress of surgery and anesthesia, or excessive bleeding from any number of causes.

Vaidya Pradeep Sharma (MD)

Sukhayu Ayurveda for most trusted Ayurvedic hospital for spinal problems

Sukhay Ayurveda is one of the prime institution of Ayurveda. National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers- famously known as NABH under quality council of India- awarded Sukahyu NABH accreditation in year 2017.