Back pain is a significant problem in America. In 2010, more than 10 million people experienced back pain. More than 200,000 of these patients are diagnosed with a herniated disc. A new study, published in The Journal of Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, found that the estimated average annual earnings of working patients who undergo surgery are $47,619, compared to $45,694 for those with non-surgical treatments. The study found that over a four-year period, surgery resulted in cost offsets of more than $5,000 due to higher earnings for patients receiving surgery.