I get a burning sensation in my lower back if I stand on my feet at work for more than two hours. My mother had back surgery years ago and felt much better afterward. She thinks maybe I need back surgery too. Does it sound like I need surgery?

Doctors don't usually suggest surgery right away in cases of simple back pain. Surgery is sometimes needed after a serious injury, or if nerve problems cause muscle weakness or affect the bowels and bladder. Some people need back surgery for significant back pain that isn't helped by nonsurgical treatments such as medication and exercise.

Pain that starts after you've been on your feet for a while may be related to the surface you stand on, your back posture, or how much you move around on the job. If you have to stand for a long time on hard surfaces such as concrete, a good pair of shoes or a special shoe insert can help absorb some of the shock and strain. If you have poor posture, you may be causing extra pressure on the joints and soft tissues of the spine. If you can't move around during your work shift, your body may become fatigued. Tired muscles often feel sore and painful. Doing gentle stretches a few times during the work shift may keep your back muscles relaxed and prevent the burning sensation. If not, be sure to discuss this with your doctor or physical therapist.