There are a lot of time issues when it comes to WC. If you file in the allotted amount of time allowed and keep them apprised of what is going on, your job should be safe and you should have adequate time to come to an informed decision.
Surgery is the last resort unless you have immediate nerve issues such as incontenience or loss of bowel control.
Once you file an injury report, they either accept or deny it. It takes awhile. But, if you let it go, and don't file an on the job injury report in a timely manner, then if you want to later, they can deny your claim.
L6 means that at some time, while you were forming in your mom's womb, part of your lumbar decided to try to become more than it was. This is what they doc told me about mine. It is more common than most people realize.
As for DDD, at age 51, it is common. What is your WC claim for? DDD? They will call that a natural part of the aging process unless you can point to an injury.
I wish you the best of luck with this matter. I would report it as soon as possible if you had an on the job injury. When in doubt, report anyway.
People lose their jobs over reporting injuries but you only have one body.
sending positive thoughts your way,