Surgery for Low Back Pain

Learning objective 6: Improve your understanding of the evidence for surgical management of LBP

Surgery for Low Back Pain Q & A

  • Q: Is spinal fusion advantageous for chronic low back pain?

    A: Level 1 evidence shows that spinal fusion is no better than non-operative care for improving pain and disability in chronic low back pain [1].

  • Q: Is total disc replacement surgery effective in chronic low back pain?

    A: Total disc replacement surgery has been shown to be effective in the short term in select individuals with degenerative disc disease causing chronic low back pain [2].

    Current recommendations are to carefully consider the indications for this approach due to long term complications and pain that can ensue.

  • Q: Is surgery effective for athletes with low back pain?

    Evidence now shows that surgery as a treatment for back pain, is associated with poor outcomes. Despite this, surgery is often recommended by health professionals and is still widely considered among elite athletes with low back pain.

    In this podcast, Prof. Peter O‚ÄôSullivan discusses the benefits and risks of surgery for low back pain using Tiger Wood’s as the example athlete.