I'm a 21 years old guy with spine problems (it's a nice way to introduce myself, isn't it?) and I'm new to the forums. Let's go.
I have 0,5 cm paramedial herniated disc at level L4-L5 and 0,3 cm medial disc protrusion at level L5-S1. I got these two problems in the beginning of 2008 or so and since then I was living with varying lower back pain (it wasn't very sharp or something, but it was a discomfort, though I did some sport related activities like bodyweight exercises, stretching, swimming, bike riding etc.). To make a long story short, in October 2010 I started to feel some kind of discomfort in the bottom of both feet, like needles, pinching or something like that (sciatica). I thought that it would go away with the time, but, unfortunately, it didn't. Now I have, let's say, a discomfort in my feet (under and above them) and sometimes I feel needles in my front calves, but this discomfort is very little and I can easily live with it. To sum up - I have a sciatica which isn't huge in pain, but still, it doesn't go away and that bothers me. I tried to do lots of things with my lower back before I got my sciatica, but none of them really helped (core strength exercises and stretching and swimming did their jobs just for a temporary improvement in back condition, but that's it).
I am thinking about having a microdiscectomy or something like that (removing the herniated fragments of the disc, I am not that good at English terms of medicine, so sorry for that) but at the same time I'm confused, because people do surgeries when they are deep in the trouble and when they can't live without painkillers or even when the painkillers don't do the work. But I think that one day that sciatic pain can get worse and irradiation of the nerve root will only be bigger as the time goes by, so a surgery can be an option to prevent this from happening.
If you need any kind of information about the background of my lower back problems etc. feel free to ask, because I don't want to make my first post here look extra long (though I already did).
So after telling all this, I am looking forward to your responses / opinions about my situation.