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.