I have serious pain in my low back that's kept me from getting back to work. My doctor says it's called sciatica and that surgery could help. Will surgery get me back on the job?

Surgery can be done to remove the disc that's causing your problems. In a recent study, patients who had this kind of surgery wound up with less pain and better backs than patients who didn't have surgery. However, surgery didn't necessarily affect whether patients went back to work.

Among patients who were getting Workers' Compensation before surgery, twenty percent were still getting some kind of disability compensation five years after surgery. The results were the same for patients who didn't have surgery. Patients who had surgery were a little more likely to be working five years after treatment, but this difference was very slight.

Surgery may not be the magic wand that gets you back on the job. Still, it may make you feel better faster than other kinds of treatment. Your doctor can tell you more about how surgery may help you, based on your condition.