Asks questions that help you find out if your low back problem might be helped by surgery. Results help you talk with your doctor about back pain or other symptoms like leg pain. Helps you talk with your doctor about surgery and other treatment options.
Interactive Tool: Should I Consider Surgery for My Low Back Problem?
What does this tool help you learn?
This interactive tool will not diagnose a back problem, but it will tell you whether surgery might help reduce or get rid of symptoms related to your low back problem. Although research shows that surgery is very likely to be effective for some problems, it rarely helps with others.
This tool is not meant for people in emergency situations. Talk to your doctor right away if you have numbness, weakness, or other symptoms that are very bad or getting worse. For more information, see the Check Your Symptoms section of the topic Back Problems and Injuries.
What do the results tell you?
Symptoms of low back problems, such as back pain and pain down the back of the leg, usually go away by themselves within several weeks. Most people with back pain do not need to see the doctor unless they have severe pain or their symptoms are not getting better after about 4 weeks. And they do not start having any tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), unless they have had symptoms for at least 6 weeks or they have had other "red flags" such as signs of nerve damage. Surgery is not considered until after that.
As you work through this tool, you will get an idea of whether surgery might help you.
If you are concerned about back pain or other related symptoms such as leg pain, numbness, or weakness, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take. If surgery is unlikely to help, you can still take action to reduce and control your symptoms.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.