I'm happy to report that, nearly 5 months after a herniation at L5-S1 (third time this disk herniated, after two successful diskectomies), I'm in a lot less pain.
The first three months were excruciating. The pain radiated down the entire left leg to my foot. No pain medications did anything.
I ended up going to PT with a certified McKenzie practitioner. It helped a lot initially, but then seemed to hit a plateau and even began to hurt. So I stopped.
What seems to be helping now, swear to god, is just good posture. I know, I know... sounds nutty. But I read a bunch of articles by Dr. Jolie Bookspan (you can find them online). Her theory, which is shared by many others, is essentially this: the outer layers of a disk are made up of ligaments, just like other ligaments in the body. When we sprain an ankle, we damange the ligaments in the ankle. These will heal IF we imobilize the ankle and avoid re-straining those ligaments. The same is true of our disks. The reason they are slow to heal (or won't heal) could be because we continually re-strain them with bad posture, improper bending and lifting, etc.
After trying so many things this time around (and wanting to avoid fusion surgery at all costs), I began to pay more attention to the way I stood, sat, bent, etc.
I found that I tend to stand unbalanced when doing things like washing the dishes. I began to use a lumbar pillow at work and would carry it to every meeting. I was very careful when I bent down and used my legs.
After a week of this, I felt better. After two, I felt a lot better. After a month, I sometimes forget (for brief moments) that I have sciatica.
I just began Gabapentin 100 mg 3 x a day, and am hoping that adds to the progress I'm making.
Just thought I'd post a little good news.