Andrea Kramer, from Montgomery Village, Md., opted for surgery after living with nine years of pain from a herniated disk in her lower back. Physical therapy and Lidocaine patches had given her some relief, but finally she begged her doctor to refer her to a surgeon. "I'd always resisted surgery. But the pain was awful. It felt like a knife was being put in my back."
Kevin Gulley, 39, from Newton, Mass., wanted to do everything he could to avoid surgery for his repetitive low back pain. For two years, cortisone injections allowed him to exercise and stretch. But, finally, one injection actually contributed to the damage in his back.