Low Back Pain Intervention: Conservative or Surgical?


Low back pain (LBP) is a very common disorder with a U.S. population incidence of 80%. The risk for developing chronic LBP is relatively low but the majority of the costs associated with LBP are generated specifically by this group. Unfortunately, there is no gold standard intervention and few comparative, randomized, prospective treatment studies have been done. Therefore, the optimal treatment approach continues to be controversial. Surgery is usually reserved for those patients with severe and debilitating symptoms and, with careful selection, can result in good outcomes with rapid return to function. For patients who are not surgical candidates, conservative treatment must emphasize restoration and maintenance of functional movement. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 12(4):200–202, 2003

Daniel Lee, MD