More than 85 percent of Americans will have back pain. America is the land of quick fixes, so many back pain sufferers resort to back surgery. In fact, surgeons performed six times more back operations last year than in 1980. Have these surgeries ended the scourge of hack pain or have they merely served to help neurological and orthopedic specialists make their monthly Mercedes payments? The answer is more complex.
Surgery doesn't always end back pain. Healthy spines require stable, balanced, fit muscles. Most people won't take the time to do a few basic exercises that stabilize the spine and prevent pain. Rack guru Stuart McGill from the University of Waterloo in Canada recommends that most people do curl-ups, side-bridges and bird-dog exercises every day to build endurance in the muscles supporting the spine. Surgeons are piece workers their income depends on the number of surgeries they perform. The combination of a high incidence of back pain, patients who want a quick fix and physicians who need the work make a large number of back surgeries inevitable. Spine centers are relatively new developments for treating hack pain.
These facilities use a variety of approaches to treat the problem, including home exercises, physical therapy, medication and surgery. Don't have back surgery until you have explored all the options.