What is the rationale for nonoperative treatment of spine-related pain?
The natural history of nonspecific spinal pain has been demonstrated to be benign.
Approximately 90% of patients experience improvement within 3 months.
Recent studies temper these results by suggesting that 75% of patients have one or more relapses, and 72% may still have at least some residual pain at 1 year.
Patients with radiculopathy, whether due to soft disc herniation or spondylitic compression, usually improve with time.
However, spinal stenosis usually stays stable or worsens with time.
About 15% of patients with spinal stenosis improve, 70% remain stable, and 15% worsen after 4 years.