Is spinal surgery effective for back pain?

F1000 Med Rep. 2009 Jul 27:1:60. doi: 10.3410/M1-60.

Abstract

There have only been a few randomized controlled trials of surgical treatment of chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Fusion surgery has been compared primarily with nonoperative treatment, whereas disc arthroplasty has been compared with fusion surgery. The results for either of the two surgical procedures are modest in terms of pain relief and improved function.