Neck and low back pain are common occurrences in the general population. It is estimated that approximately 80% of the population will experience pain in the low back and/or neck at some time in their life. Fortunately, most of those cases resolve without surgical treatment. Surgical treatment of neck and low back problems can vary depending on several factors. The actual problem in the back or neck, where the pain is located, the severity of the pain, if and in what way the nerves in the neck or back are affected, and response to nonoperative measures to treat the pain all influence the decision to proceed with surgery. As long as the nerves in the neck and/or back are functioning properly, surgery is indicated only after conservative (nonoperative) treatment has been tried and failed.