Bono may be off a lot longer than reports suggest due to the nature of his back problem.

His back problems did not suddenly flare up, as they have become chronic over the years, has learned.

"He played through pain on many previous occasions with this back problem" said a band insider.

It got so bad that on several previous occasions the U2 front man was almost forced to cancel concerts because of the pain he was experiencing.

"There was no single incident, just a series of debilitating episodes with back pain, especially affecting the sciatic nerve," continued the band insider.

"It finally caught up with him.”

Through the years Bono had tried every sort of remedy but nothing worked on a long-term basis.

Now after major surgery, he has finally been forced to rest and try and resolve the problem once and for all.

"He played through pain for so long that they thought he could do it forever. That has not been the case," said the insider.

"He could be out a long time."