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.