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Surgery Tops No Surgery For Herniated Discs

For patients with lower back pain caused by herniated disc surgery delivers better results than non surgical treatment. Researchers studied 1200 patients with a herniated disc in the lower spine resulting in back and leg pain and other symptoms caused by pressure on spinal nerve roots. One group of patients chose surgery called discectomy and another group chose nonoperative care including physical therapy and pain relievers and exercise.

After analyzing all patients, pain scores were significantly lower for those undergoing surgery; an average of 15 points lower on a 100 point pain scale. Surgery was also associated with greater improvement in function. Improvement with surgery was seen as early as 6 weeks and was still present after 4 years in this study.

As a surgeon who performs lumbar disc surgery I would agree with the findings of this study.