Why is SPORT Important?
Eight out of ten people will have back pain at some point in their lives. Next to the common cold, it is the main reason for missed work days and clinician visits. It is estimated that the costs of low back pain range between $30 billion and $70 billion every year.
And yet, there is no clinical "proof" that surgery—one of the most common treatments for back pain—is effective. In this case, "proof" means no evidence through a standard clinical trial that compares one treatment to another. Certainly some patients have conditions that clearly call for surgery, and they experience immediate relief from a painful and debilitating condition. But other cases are less clear-cut. It may be that alternatives to surgery, such as physical therapy, over-the-counter medication, or other non-invasive therapies, would be just as effective.
So this trial asked the question: is surgery better than non-surgical therapy for patients with the three conditions described above?
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