10 causes of Back pain after Knee Replacement Surgery

Back pain after Knee Replacement Surgery

Back pain after knee replacement surgery is one of the common complaints that patients do to their knee replacement surgeon when they go for their follow up visit.

Have you been complaining about back pain issue? Do you think you are one of the many knee replacement failure victims?

I guess your search query in google and your landing on this page makes you one of many patients who has this Knee Replacement Problem!

I remember my mom used to have a lot of back pain for a few weeks following her knee arthroscopy a few years ago.

So in this article about “Back Pain after Knee Replacement surgery.” we will look at causes and factors of back pain and also we will look at treatment approaches that you can try to get lower back pain relief.

Back pain after Knee Surgery

Some of patients have some back pain after knee replacement surgery. However, the severity of pain varies from occasional mild discomfort to excruciating pain, where some advanced medical procedure was needed to help ease the pain.

Knee replacement statistics for the year 2017 tells that there were 966000 Knee replacement surgeries performed in the United States. And predominantly, results are very satisfactory after the Knee Replacement.

Knee replacement surgery has been performed for the last many years as a successful treatment of knee arthritis problem. It has been one of the mainstays for patients for whom all other treatment alternative did not give any benefits.

Knee Replacement Surgery usually is not a causative factor for back pain. Still, as the patient feels increased back pain after knee surgery, they relate it to knee surgery.

Let us see why it happens and whether it is a serious concern or issue for a patient or a doctor.

As a Physical therapist, I have to say the following things about this issue!

10 Reasons for Back Pain after Knee Surgery


Since by the time, the patient undergoes Knee surgery, they have already passed 50 years of age(Nowadays even younger than 45) they have other health issues that can cause back pain after surgery.

Age plays a huge role in the recovery after any surgery and in the overall health of the individual.

Lack of Exercise

Due to excessive arthritic changes in the body, patients are no longer remain active or exercise regularly.

Weak and unused muscles of your lower back and your abdomen can also cause postural back pain.


The presence of other medical diseases also contributes towards the back pain.

Usually, those who complain more about back pain after surgery have a history of back pain issues before the surgery.

Psychological Issues

Another problem which I see is subjective which is my own opinion.

Before knee replacement surgery patients had more knee pain, so their back pain was masked under the heavy influence of knee arthritis pain.

But once knee replacement surgery is performed, and knee pain has vanished, the previously existing back pain resurfaces.

Spinal Anesthesia

When any kind of knee surgery is performed, and spinal anesthesia is given, there are increased possibilities of back pain.

Insomnia After Knee Replacement

sleep after knee replacement

Insomnia or inability to sleep after knee replacement is a common complaint among many knee replacement patients.

And lack of sleep causes restlessness and can even cause low back pain.

Gait Abnormalities

genu valgum

So many times due to severe arthritic changes of the knees, the patient had bow knees or in rare cases, knock knees.

These causes altered walking pattern, which can also cause back pain.

Unrealistic Expectations

knee surgery expectations

Sorry to say, but sometimes our recovery expectations are so high and unrealistic.

Patients have very high expectations from their knee replacement recovery.

Sometimes, they feel that Knee Replacement surgery is a magic bullet for all their pain issues.

Here is an article on “What to Expect from your Knee Replacement Surgery”.

Treatment for back pain after Surgery

back pain physiotherapy

Although not a major concern, it could be easily treated with the following approach:

Have a realistic expectation from yourself and also your Physical therapist.

Give yourself and your body some time to heal. Keep in mind that you have undergone major surgery.

Pain is a subjective thing, and you and only you can judge the intensity and severity of illness. However, if you can bear the pain, avoid taking pain killer meds.

Also, physical therapy sessions can help you with your back pain after knee replacement surgery in the same way as if you never had knee replacement surgery.

And do not forget to do some heat therapy at home.

Share your thoughts

Share tour thoughts

Have you or your family member has undergone Knee replacement surgery? Or do you want to share something on this best knee replacement blog post?

Please do so by commenting below so that others can get benefit out of it.


Hi all. Welcome to my website www.kneereplacementrehab.com. I am Ankur Desai, a licensed physiotherapist in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. I have a special interest in musculoskeletal Physical therapy and more so in Knee rehab.

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