In most cases, back surgery is not the best solution for back pain. In fact, time is often the best antidote since 90% of back pain heals within a few weeks.
When it comes to back pain, many doctors order tests immediately, but this can lead to unnecessary treatment since images can be misleading. For instance, a spine with a bulge can indicate sciatica (back pain and shooting leg pain), but it can also simply show natural degeneration of the spine, which does not actually cause pain. Physicians should abstain from ordering X-rays, MRI or CT scans for at least 6 weeks to see if the pain resolves on its own.
Finally, 1 in 5 people who undergo back surgery will need another operation within a decade. Of course, there are times when surgery is absolutely necessary, but it should not be your first course of action. Most acute back pain -- especially garden-variety lower back pain -- will go away on its own; the tincture of time is usually the best medicine.