Exercises for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome 

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome, FBSS, often includes recommendations for specific physical activities. Although the pain and discomfort associated with a failed back surgery might someone to avoid exercise staying active, so long it is done safely, has many benefits. Not only can certain exercises help strengthen the back, but they may also reduce symptoms like anxiety and sleeplessness. 

Before starting any FBSS treatment, particularly physical activity, it’s necessary to consult with a doctor. The wrong type of activity or intensity can potentially do more harm than good. Here’s some information about commonly recommended activities that can help you work with your doctor to develop the right plan for you. 


Swimming is frequently recommended for people with back pain because it combines the benefits of resistance training with the minimal impact associated with moving through water. Regularly taking laps around the pool can help build core muscle strength. This can provide better support to the spinal column and possibly relieve some FBSS symptoms. 


Taking walks is one of the easiest ways to incorporate moderate activity into a daily routine. It requires no special equipment or training and has less impact on the body than activities involving running or jumping. Those motions can be jarring to the spine, while regular walking may help reduce the discomfort associated with FBSS.

Stretching and Yoga

Stretching the muscles in and around the back can help to keep them flexible while strengthening them. Many people turn to yoga to stretch and strengthen their core muscles, but for those with FBSS, it’s important to stick to slower, gentler versions of the activity. More extreme poses, particularly those that involve twisting the spine can worsen symptoms. Experienced instructors generally develop plans tailored to a participant’s specific needs, so it’s important to mention back problems, previous surgeries, or other potential limitations before beginning a session. 

What to Avoid

As mentioned above, activities that involve twisting the spine can be particularly detrimental to people who are undergoing FBSS treatment. That likely means not playing golf or tennis to avoid further damaging the spine. Heavy and improper lifting is also discouraged, be it in the gym or around the house. These activities can take a heavy toll on an already damaged spine. 

FBSS Treatment with BEST

If weeks or months of FBSS treatment don’t bring an improvement in your symptoms another spine surgery may become an option. If you are in this situation, you may want to consider minimally invasive spine surgery at BEST Health System. Our outpatient procedures treat a wide range of spine conditions, including FBSS while offering patients a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication than traditional open back surgery. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient procedures.