My Physical Therapist showed me this article on back fusion and it's outcome for herniated discs...
Surgery Beats Nonsurgical Treatment For Herniated Discs: Direct Comparison Shows Most Outcomes Better With Discectomyhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/131540.php
Prior to my surgery all I ever read (or found) were articles on non-surgical treatments vs. surgical - articles that found that after 2 to 10 years (the articles varied) it wouldn't really matter if you had surgery or not - that we mostly all ended up in the same position.
I did read (prior to my surgery) that most surgical people had a quicker recovery from disc pain than non-surgical. But hey, I was willing to have the extra pain if I didn't have to deal with the uncertainty of surgery.
Now the reports say that surgery is the best - the article states: "The improvement in outcomes with surgery was seen as early as six weeks and was still present after four years. Patients treated without surgery also showed improvement, but not as much as in the surgery group. There were few serious complications of surgery."
I could argue a bit about the complications part - but they were dead on in my case in regards to the post-op pain and better physical ability post-op.