When previous back or neck pain persists or is exacerbated or a new pain begins after a back or neck procedure, the term used to define the condition is failed back surgery syndrome or failed neck surgery syndrome.

Post-surgery back or neck pain varies from patient to patient and depends greatly on what type of surgery was performed. Most likely the continued or new pain occurs because the surgical procedure failed to correct the original source of pain. Additionally, if a patient presented for surgery with multiple sources of pain, the surgery may not be able to correct all of them. A misdiagnosis before surgery or complications during a procedure can also account for continued or worsening back and neck pain, as can an incorrect treatment during the rehabilitation period that hampered the natural healing process.

Varying due to the severity of the back or neck condition pre-surgery as well as the underlying cause and location of the problem, the symptoms of failed back surgery syndrome and failed neck surgery syndrome are, of course, unrelieved or worsening pain after surgery or completely new pain that didn’t exist before the surgical procedure.

A diagnosis of the condition will come from an examination by a physician, who may utilize imaging techniques to confirm the condition. Once diagnosed, treatment will depend on how severe the pain is, where it’s located and the patient’s overall health. Options for treatment may include physical therapy, medications to manage pain and, in the worse cases, further surgery.