This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


6 Exercises for the Failed Back Syndrome

Failed back syndrome (FBS) is a condition which is mainly characterized by chronic pain post a back surgery. Patients who suffer from failed back syndrome experience various problems that include diffuse, dull and aching pain in the back. This article deals with the exercises for the failed back syndrome.

Generally, it is seen that spine surgery is mainly done to decompress the root of the nerve which has got pinched and for stabilizing a painful joint. Yet, it is mostly found that even with the successful spine surgery the patient does not get relieved from the back pain. In this regard exercise plays a major role in helping with the pain.

6 Exercises for the Failed Back Syndrome

6 Exercises for Failed Back Syndrome (FBS)

When the back pain of the patient is not cured even after spine surgery and when it is detected that the patient has failed back syndrome (FBS) there is no alternative other than exercise. Exercise is the best thing that a patient can do during such time. However, it is very important that when you do physical exercise you should consult with your doctor to know the right type of exercises.

There are many exercises for failed back syndrome and only an expert can guide you about the most appropriate for you and the duration to perform them. If you do not do the correct exercises then it may do more harm to your body resulting in more severe back pain. Hence, it is important to seek advice from a physiotherapist or a doctor who can guide you in the correct way as to how to perform the exercise. Studies have shown that isokinetic exercises and dynamic lumbar stabilization exercises for failed back syndrome are the best options.1 These are special and effective techniques and exercises for failed back syndrome that help to strengthen your back and core. As the condition of every person differs, it is important to work as advised by the physiotherapist and follow the instructions.

In addition to those, some of the other effective exercises for failed back syndrome include the following:

Abdominal Bracing Exercises for Failed Back Syndrome- Abdominal bracing is one of the most basic exercises for failed back syndrome. To perform this, lie down on your back. Fold your leg and place the foot on the ground and make sure to keep the leg and foot at waist width apart. Now, as you exhale, tuck your tummy in by bringing in the belly button inside towards your spine. While you breathe out, relax the stomach muscles. You must not hold your breath at any point and continue with gentle breaths as you tuck your tummy in and out. Repeat the exercise for 10 times for at least 2-3 times a day. This is one of the most effective exercises for failed back syndrome and helps build the back muscles.

Yoga or Exercise for Failed Back Syndrome – Yoga is considered as one of the best exercises for failed back syndrome. While you do exercises or yoga, your muscles and nerves get stretched. This also results in strengthening the muscles as well as the nerves. It is also important for the patient of failed back syndrome (FBS) to stick to the slower or gentler version of exercises or yoga. It is very important to avoid some extreme exercises especially that involves twisting the spine as it can worsen the condition of the patient more than what was there before. When you perform exercises under the supervision of an experienced guide they can tailor the exercise or yoga appropriately. It is very essential to tell clearly about the back pain, the surgery that was done before and the limitation that the patient has in performing the exercise.

Walking to Treat Failed Back Syndrome- Along with exercise, walking also plays an essential role in lessening the back pain that the patient experience. The best thing about walking is that unlike exercise or yoga you do not need any special equipment or training. Regular walking helps reduce the discomfort and pain occurring due to failed back syndrome. Actually, walking is a low impact and one of the simplest exercises for failed back syndrome as it helps in stretching the muscles and reduces the joint pains.

Swimming as the Best Exercise for Failed Back Syndrome- Another exercise that works best for the failed back syndrome is swimming. Swimming is a kind of physical activity which doesn’t require much physical strain. While the patient of the failed back syndrome takes a regular lap around the swimming pool, it actually helps in building the core muscles strong. Strong core muscles provide huge support to the spinal cord and also help to lower the back pain of the patient. However, for some patients, swimming may be restricted for initial weeks after the surgery or may have certain limitations to avoid hyperextension of the back, which can hurt in some cases. Hence, following medical advice is important. In such cases, aqua exercises can help, but are best done with an expert.

The upper back and neck muscles also need strengthening and flexibility to ensure a strong back. Hence, some of the exercises for failed back syndrome also focus on the upper body. These include:

Cervical Mobility Exercise- Lie down on your back with your legs folded and feet placed on the floor. Keep a pillow below your head. Now, tuck your chin down for looking at your feet and then lift your head up slightly so that your eye still points at the ceiling. These should be very small movements to ensure cervical spine flexibility. At any point, your head should not be off the pillow. Repeat the exercise for 5 times for thrice a day.

Shoulder Circles for Failed Back Syndrome- Sit in a chair with your foot placed on the ground. Now, try to make an “O” by rotating your shoulders up, back, down and front. Do it clockwise and anti-clockwise for 10 times in each set. Repeat the exercise for 2-3 times in a day. It helps in strengthening the upper back and shoulder muscles.


Exercise plays a great role in reducing the symptoms that the patient of failed back syndrome experience. Exercises for failed back syndrome (FBS) should be done regularly once it is detected as it is the only best option. However, it is important to note that it should be done under proper medical guidance to avoid worsening of any symptoms.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 24, 2019

Recent Posts

Related Posts