Two studies with different methodologies performed on the effects of back surgery versus non-operative treatment found that the surgery did produce better effects but only slightly and that non-operative treatments worked also very well.

In order to make the right decision, each individual case needs to be studied.

There are opinions that no one should have surgery but there are also those who think that surgery should be performed right away. Neither of the statements is completely true.

Dr. Alan S. Hilibrand, associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Jefferson Medical College says that people who come in with leg pain from a herniated disc have good chances of getting better with non-operative treatment and if they are not getting better with this initial approach, they should undergo the surgery.

In the study performed on 500 patients with herniated disc and sciatica, those who underwent surgeries reported better outcomes in the areas of pain and physical function and in severity of sciatica and satisfaction with symptoms.

The researchers advise that patients should be offered both options as well as the statistics, so they could decide whether they would try out with the non-operative treatments first or undergo the surgery right away.