Re: L4/L5 Spine problems
Surgery should always be the LAST option.
Depending on what is wrong, they can do epidural nerve blocks to find the exact problem and then do steroid injections in the same area to relive the pain and slow the degeneration of the area. If the facet joints are involved(on the back of the vertebrae) they can go in and burn off the nerve endings with radio frequency waves giving 6-12 months of pain relief. Physiotherapy and pain meds can help as well.
Unfortunately, there is not much else and usually once you start surgery, it becomes a never ending cycle of surgeries with absolutely no guarantee of any kind of pain relief. I'm waiting on a full lumbar fusion myself. Already fused from C3 to T1 in my neck(6 vertebrae fusion).
Unlike knees and other joints that can be replaced, you can't replace a spine.