I posted about a month ago regarding a large herniation I had at L4-L5 with significant compression of the L5 nerve root. As a quick overview, the horrible pain started mid-January, got the diagnosis at the beginning of February, saw one spine surgeon who immediately said I needed surgery, I requested PT and started that instead, saw a second spine surgeon (liked him 100% better) who saw no immediate need for surgery and sent me to PT for 6 weeks.
I am now in week 3 of PT and week 3 of acupuncture and things are MUCH better. I went from 12 Advil a day that would only barely take the edge off and almost zero range of motion, to only 6 or 7 Advil a day and weighted exercises. The sciatic pain is still there (and I'm pretty sure my piriformis muscle is causing a lot of that) but very manageable and nowhere near what it was. I'm optimistic that I will be able to make a full recovery!
I just wanted to post and say that sometimes, healing is possible without surgery. I thought there was no way I would make it through the pain, but through PT, acupuncture and one round of oral steroids, I've been able to get my life back and not worry about the pain 24/7. Now, I may need surgery sometime down the road, but I've learned how to be careful with my back and how to gain some flexibility. Always get multiple opinions before considering surgery and believe that it is possible for the body to heal itself!
Hugs to all of the back pain sufferers - it really is the worst pain imaginable. I wish you all the best of luck in your search for relief!