Failed Back Surgery – Hulk Hogan’s story

Hulk Hogan Victim of Failed Back Surgery

Hulk Hogan

Failed Back Surgery – Hulk Hogans story

This is the 2nd post in our series about famous people with back pain. The first featured John F. Kennedy:

Wrestling legend and reality TV star Hulk Hogan, who has suffered from back pain for years, has tried nearly everything possible to fix his back, including human growth hormone. Despite numerous back surgeries, his condition continued to deteriorate, and his back problems came to a head in late 2010 when he suffered some massive back spasms that landed him in the hospital.

Although Hogan had undergone back surgery to remove some bone spurs, reports said that his new wave of back pain in early September was unrelated. Hogan reported that after a weekend collecting seashells on the beach with girlfriend Jennifer McDaniel, the constant bending over got the better of him, and the next morning he could “barely move.”

He ended up at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, FL, where he kept fans informed by tweeting about his condition and filming videos from his hospital bed. “My back went into a major spasm from hip all the way to the middle of my back — it just totally overwhelmed me” the 57-year-old Hogan said in this Twitvid.

Hogan’s radiofrequency ablation

The incident led to a lumbar radiofrequency ablation, a procedure in which a probe is used to destroy nerve fibers and reduce pain sensation. Vanderbilt University Medical Center reports that the success rate for lumbar radiofrequency ablation ranges from 60 to 90 percent and that its effects can diminish one to two years after surgery.  A youtube video from Sept 20, 2010, shows Hogan speaking to a nurse, who explains that he underwent four radiofrequency ablations, which she says is the maximum number surgeons will do at one time.

“I’ve been ablated,” Hogan tells the camera. “They burned all the nerves in my back.”

Hail Mary surgery: spinal cord stimulation

But the ablation was unsuccessful, and eight days later Hogan posted on Twitter that he was going back to the hospital for “Hail Mary” back surgery – a procedure that involved inserting a spinal cord stimulator in his back. The stimulator — a device that is inserted below the skin and delivers electrical currents to alleviate chronic back pain — was inserted for a trial run, with plans to permanently insert it after a couple of days if it proved successful. But after being discharged from the hospital, Hogan re-admitted himself the next morning. He was still in excruciating pain.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)

Hogan is among the 10-40 percent of back surgery patients who experience failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), a term used to describe the condition of patients who continue to have back pain after surgery. According to, back surgery is the only procedure with a failure rate so high that it actually has a name. The number one reason back surgeries fail is that the injury or condition operated on is not actually the cause of the pain. Spinal fusion surgery Hogan’s failed spinal cord stimulator led to another major surgery: in December, the recently married Hogan underwent a 10-hour procedure that included spinal fusion along with some restructuring and rebuilding. In spinal fusion surgery, vertebrae in the spine are permanently fused together so there is no longer movement between them, resulting in decreased pain around the joint. Vertebrae can be fused together with bone obtained from a bone bank or another part of the body, or metal implants can be used to hold vertebrae together until new bone grows between them.
True to form, Hogan posted photos of his incisions following the surgery.

“This was my Christmas present,” he tweeted. “I’m tired of being cut on.”

Hogan appears to be recovering well and hasn’t let the surgery slow him down. In March, he announced that he took control of creative processes for TNA Wrestling, and he also made a guest appearance on American Idol.

If you are a Hulk Hogan fan please show him some love in the comments below!

Karen Eisenbraun is a writer, editor, and Internet marketing professional specializing in the areas of health and wellness. Her writing has appeared on a number of top health websites, including, and she is the Kansas City Yoga Examiner for Visit her web site at

is the founder and CEO of Vacupractor.

10 comments on “Failed Back Surgery – Hulk Hogan’s story
  1. Leslea Miller says:

    I had laser spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute on 4-5-11. Saw that you were one of their success stories. Surprised to see this story of so much discomfort since Laser Spine boasts that you were a patient of their’s. I am a nurse who must go back to work on 6-14-11 with no work restrictions and I now use a walker for more comfort. I am 53 yrs. old and have more discomfort than ever. LSI keeps telling me to “give it time.” And they’re big on the big-gun medicines too. Ask and it shall be given. I feel like this has all been for nothing…. And I am sorry that you are not one of their success stories. I had such high hopes that I would soon experience standing at my med cart pain free and now I will return to work in pain. So sad. God bless you. Leslea Miller

    • Daniel Maloney says:

      I can empathize,but am saddened by your having to return to work.The nursing profession as demanding mentally and physically…as it is..Oh!
      You are not alone and I realize that we could be worse off..however….this is
      no life.
      I pray that you are cured asap. DFM

  2. Steve Eisenberg says:

    I had a DLIF with 100% success after 6 months.

  3. Tara says:

    I am a 38 year old female who has undergone two different spinal fusions.In 2009 I had a fusion of L5-S1,in2011 I had C45&6 fused.I have been on lyric ever since(gabapentin sux).After having a Meyelogram&CTscan 2 weeks ago I now go back under the knife in2 weeks to remove the hardware on my right side lumbarL5S1.Apparently a screw is now lodged in my right side root nerve.I have3children ages 11,8,&5 who are scared to bitsys because their mommy has never been the same since the first surgery & it has robbed them of so much already.My oldest son has been battling type1 diabetes since he was 2&a half.I have psoriatic arthritis&degenerative bone disease inherited from mom&dad.Somebody tell me I’m not alone please& there is a life out there with two functioning legs!

    • Jonathan Ames says:

      Tara- yes, there’s a life out there. My doctors kept me mobile 30+ years afre an initial accidents started the progressive degenerative disk. I took a fall off one of our competition horses hard enough to fracture my pelvis and make a Transformational Lumbar Inter-body Fusion or TLIF the only way I was going to walk upright without any pain. I was scared to death but great doctors and my own education turned the worst day of my life into the best. I was back at work in 2 months and, carefully, back in the saddle with one of our horses we’ve had for 20 years in 4 months; this when IF I was going to see the benefits, recovery time was 12 months plus. It’s a combination, Tara, of wanting to get better so badly that you educate yourself as well as you can and then find the right doctors to they the things that make sense to you. From chiropractic to various therapies to injections, medications and other modalities, I tried everything there was, with varying degrees of success, before I had to have surgery. But when I had to have it, I had such confidence in my neurosurgeon and the team he picked, I had read and balanced every bit of information I could so it was me making the decision and not the doctor, that when I went into the OR, I knew i9 had done everything I could to positively influence the outcome. Don’t underestimate the power of a positive mindset. Anyway, today, with a back as badly screwed up as mine was, I had a complete 4-level TLIF and now have the Quality of Life comparative to 30 years ago. I ride, I rope, I work our ranch and I’m looking forward to retirement in another few years sitting in the same saddle I have for 25 years instead of a wheelchair so yest, Tara, there is hope out there. All you need to do is make sure that you know the right questions to ask the doctors who will be attending to you and that they’re able to answer your questions in a language you can understand. An inability or an unwillingness to that and you need to look elsewhere. Too many people see MD after someone’s name and relinquish themselves to that person based on those two letters. You play a huge role in your health and you don’t need to be a doctor yourself to know if what someone who is a doctor is telling you makes sense or not. If it does, that’s your best shot. If it doesn’t, the right person is out there with the right answers. I know. I’m walking proof. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Dear Tara,
      I too have degenerative disc disease. I had an open back surgery when I was around 41. Felt good for about 15 years and then the pain came back with a vengenace. for the last 10 years i have been searching for help. I flew to Florida, and had laser spine surgery at Bonati. They told me in 6 weeks should be feeling better. Not so- pain got worse. I have had all help that a pain management dr. can do. Nerve block injections, Radio Frequency Ablation, Neuro Stimulator, and medications. Nothing has helped. I went to see a neuro specialist at Ohio State University just to hear him say that no surgeries can help me. Too much scar tissue, plus damage to nerves from laser surgery. Whopee, just what I wanted to hear. I truly feel for you considering the help that the family needs from you, but no one understands what chronic back pain is like until he or she has it. My prayers are with you.

  4. sunil says:

    technically hulk had a growth hormone excess when he was a kid ..
    he was a bigger kid at birth ..grew taller fast …( gigantism ) minor ;
    he broke bones EASY also feature of gigantism
    he pumped in steroids , made his feed back stop once he stoped it, it caused bones to crush .
    so he needs growth hormone for life now , bad luck that he already has deformed bones , cant do anything about it …….yeah he can wear something that supports his back rather his spine alone .

    • Maryann says:

      I was working for NCR was hit in the rear 55mph in my cmopany van I found out I had 3 herniated discs s123 and 2 in neck c34 I had surgery low back pain would go down my legs and at times legs would go out I would fall . Bad thing I died during surgery brought back 7 days crit care . Left me with constant pain 1 leg still goes out. It also left me with Bipolar schizophrenic I was in the NAVY 7 years on Submarines never a problem . I can tell you GET A MRI DONE ON LOWER BACK!!

  5. Daniel Maloney says:

    I am a former athlete who has endured 4 failed cervical and lumbar fusions,ulnar nerve transposition failure,left ellbow.Achilles tendon surgery 50% success,25 epidural injections over 15 years,Flexor tendon hand surgery 100% FAILURE thumb will not bend.
    Fighting bladder cancer for 7 years and constant peripheral neuropathy pain level 8.
    I believe no one who says their back surgery was 100% successful.

    • Ciee says:

      I’ve had sciatica down my left leg to ousdite above ankle for 35 yrs, some years hardly feel it except for a light reminder above ankle, May and June it’s gone for summer, every year. But 2010 I caught a cold, took cough suppressants dehydrated developed into racking body pain from lower back thru entire lower skeletal nerves ligaments, couldn’t walk, sit more than a min. I was scared. I saw minor improvement after a week until a month later I could walk. It was May summer healed me.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Failed Back Surgery – Hulk Hogan’s story"
  1. […] This is the 3rd post in our series about famous people with back pain. The first featured John F. Kennedy: and the 2nd featured Hulk Hogan and his story of failed back surgery. […]

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