In ST:TNG, Ethics (Season 5, episode 16), Worf sustains a serious back injury and undergoes experimental back-treatment by implantation of a replacement spinal cord. We see that this works, but do we ever hear of Worf experiencing back problems after this procedure?

  • 5
    As far as I can tell, not only does he return to duty, but when he is assigned to DS9, he is captured during the Dominion War and fights the Gemhadar soldiers until they tire of beating and getting beaten by him. I would say he remained in top shape since his surgery. Mar 19, 2014 at 8:22
  • I can't believe I didn't recall that prolonged beating in my answer. Even if Worf didn't have a pre-existing back problem, that could create one. Mar 19, 2014 at 9:48

2 Answers 2


Worf never complains of back problems again throughout the course of both TNG and DS9, nor does he have back troubles during the films. In fact, in the DS9 episode Strange Bedfellows, Worf and Ezri Dax are hung upside-down in a cell. Ezri states: "I hate to admit it, but this is doing wonders for my back." Worf, who, as you said, has a history that includes a shocking spinal injury, seems to be experiencing far less discomfort than she is.

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    (Speculation) This may also simply be a part of Worf's personality, who is reluctant to complain in the first place. The honorable Klingon endures the pain! ;)
    – Brian S
    Mar 19, 2014 at 14:18
  • @BrianS - See my answer below. Why would he experience pain if he's "recover[ed] fully"?
    – Valorum
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:14

Within TNG and DS9, Worf never complains of any further back trouble. This is hardly surprising since the very essence of the ending of TNG: Ethics was that Worf only accepted Russell's experimental treatment (over suicide) because it offered him the chance to completely repair the damage caused by his accident;

RUSSELL : That's what this is really about, isn't it? Lieutenant Worf. I'm offering him the chance to recover fully -- a chance you can't give him.


BEVERLY : I'm delighted that Worf is going to recover. You gambled. He won. Most of your patients aren't so lucky.

  • And Worf only came out OK due to a Klingon redundancy.
    – Xantec
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:18
  • @Xantec - Exactly so. The operation was a total gamble but one that paid off.
    – Valorum
    Mar 19, 2014 at 19:24

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