Well I don't know what the Government has out there in there programs, but as for surgery I just got out of not having one on the L4/L5 disk. Which was protruding/bulging. All I did was to start sleeping on the couch after attending physical therapy and being placed on vicodin and soma's which help a little. Instead of limiting your activities, try activities where you can remain active in several differant positions at different times of the day depending on your weather of course. However I am not a doctor but find 5 or 10 minutes worth of walking in the cool part of an evening enjoyable, but at the same time it helps keep the back from getting to stiff.