Re: herniated disc L5 S1
Since we don't know the size of the herniation and since we don't know how it is impacting the nerve, it is difficult to say how successful conservative treatments might be. It is a bit unusual for a doctor to recommend surgery without trying conservative measures...and you indicate that the few things you have tried are easing your pain. If you gave more time to non-surgical treatment, you might very well allow the disc to heal on its own, which would be preferable.
One thing I want to caution you about is the impression that having surgery will be a quicker way to get your pre-herniation life back. Sometimes doctors make it sound easier than it is. Even the simplest micro surgery is not a quick fix. Once you have back surgery, your back will never be the same.
Also, it is important to get more than one opinion when contemplating any type of surgery. Unless you have sudden muscle weakness, like a drop foot, or lose control of bowel or bladder function, there is no reason to rush into spine surgery.