Workers comp low back pain surgery is rarely scheduled for the lumbar spine right away.  Do I need low back surgery?  It’s a question injured employees, whether a carpenter, plumber, electrician, drywall installer, painter, or HVAC worker with work-related low back pain often ask.  Doctors prefer to try nonsurgical treatments before considering surgery.  Even people who have degenerative spine changes tend to gradually improve with time. Only one to three percent of patients with degenerative lumbar conditions typically require surgery. Surgery may be suggested when severe pain is not improving.

There are many different operations for back pain. The goal of nearly all spine operations is to remove pressure from the nerves of the spine, stop excessive motion between two or more vertebrae, or both.


The lamina is the covering layer of the bony ring of the spinal canal. It forms a roof-like structure over the back of the spinal column. When the nerves in the spinal canal are being squeezed by a herniated disc or from bone spurs pushing into the canal, a Laminectomy removes part or all of the lamina to release pressure on the spinal nerves.


When the intervertebral disc has ruptured, the portion that has ruptured into the spinal canal may put pressure on the nerve roots. This may cause pain, weakness, and numbness that radiates into one or both legs. The operation to remove the portion of the disc that is pressing on the nerve roots is called a discectomy. This operation is performed through an incision in the low back immediately over the disc that has ruptured.  Many spine surgeons now perform discectomy procedures that require only small incisions in the low back (minimally invasive). The advantage of these minimally invasive procedures is less damage to the muscles of the back and a quicker recovery.

Lumbar fusion

When there is excessive motion between two or more vertebrae, the excess motion can cause both mechanical pain and irritation of the nerves of the lumbar spine. In this case some type of spinal fusion is usually recommended. The goal of a spinal fusion is to force two or more vertebrae to grow together, or fuse, into one bone. A solid fusion between two vertebrae stops the movement between the two bones. The pain is reduced because the fusion reduces the constant irritation and inflammation of the nerve roots.

McCormick Law Office attorneys get the best workers compensation results in Milwaukee, Wisconsin cases when the surgeon confirms the workers comp low back pain is work-related.  If there are work-related permanent restrictions as a result of low back surgery, there may be vocational retraining or a loss of earning capacity settlement available to the injured worker.