Worn down by intermittent back pain.
In desperation, you consider surgery — but this is not always a good move.
The evidence of benefit from surgery is weak at best, as a recent Lancet series on lower back pain found.
Despite this, plenty of people are still going under the knife. Lumbar spine surgery rates are doubling roughly every 10 years, according to University of NSW professor of orthopaedic surgery Ian Harris.
And, he said, the operations are getting more complex, and therefore more risky.
“What we are seeing is an increase in complex surgery over simple surgery, in particular fusions, in particular multilevel fusions.”
There are however, cheaper, more effective ways to deal with back pain. We asked the experts what works — and what doesn’t.