Hi, I've had sciatica for 11 mos. No insurance, so I waited for it to go away on its own, finally went to a clinic for uninsured 2 mos ago. Xrays done, report said DDD and arthritis (I'm 46, no previous problems). MRI said broad-based disc protrusion L4-L5 (herniated disc?) with effacement of L5 nerve root. Nurse at clinic said "see a spine specialist." Meanwhile, I qualified for a state insurance pool for people who are denied insurance (which I now was)- but I have to wait 6 mos. before I can get treatment for 'pre-existing condition.' I decided to pay out of pocket and brought MRI to a neurosurgeon, driving 70 miles for the appt. Paid $134 and he spent all of 7-8 minutes with me. No exam, told me my MRI (done at my local hosp.) was "crap." Asked if I could walk on heels and toes; I took a few steps and he said, "The nerve is functioning well; you just have irritation." He never asked what level of pain I have or what activities bother me. He said I don't want surgery- it's very expensive and unnecessary- said some people get injections but they may only last a few weeks and people are shocked when they get the bill. He advised me to look into buying an inversion table (I hung upside down years ago and hated it- couldn't stand the feeling of blood rushing to my head). Also told me to see a chiropractor. I wasn't able to ask any questions, like is there any risk of rupturing a herniated disc, etc. He mentioned that the radiculopathy will go away on its own- might hang around for 2 yrs. I thought there is a risk of permanent nerve damage if this continues. ? I feel I was ripped off- $134 to get a recommendation to a chiro (after the clinic told me NOT to see a chiro for herniated disc) and can't afford to pay the same amt. for second/third opinions-- remember, I have a 6-month wait til insurance will kick in for this. So I am seeing a chiro this week for the first time in my life. Nervous, scared, confused and could use some input. I don't even know the size of the protrusion; I keep seeing descriptions of herniations in measurements of mm. My report doesn't show this, and the neuro didn't order any more tests.