24 yr old female, 135 lbs. I've had back problems my whole life that my parent's blamed on falling off of a merry-go-round as a kid(unlikely since they both have back issues). It wasn't until about a year ago when I was training for my first marathon when I learned that the sciatica I was experiencing was from a herniated disc at L5-S1. My MRI showed two more buldges at L4-L5 and L3-L4 and schmorl's nodes at L2-L3 as well as DDD and my physical therapist suggested there may be additional problems in my sacroiliac joint. I couldn't rotate my torso without sending shooting pain down my right side. If I stepped off of a curb too quickly my whole body seized up. I once had to be carried up to my apartment because I couldn't move. I was devastated and missed my marathon.
I was on cortizone packs, had an epidural injection, did PT, decompression with a chiropractor 3 times a week, raised my work station to a standing desk, and trained with a pilates instructor twice a week.(I found the pilates to be the most helpful treatment but my instructor was especially knowledgeable about back injuries.) I even changed jobs and moved half way across the country to find a less stressful working environment. It was a slow recovery for me but in the last few months I've been feeling much better and have even started training for a sprint triathlon. I only run once a week these days but my family was right: it will get better.
Glad to have found this forum since my surgeon said it's very likely i will need surgery in the future, but i wanted to share my story in the hope that someone else may find pilates and decompression to be the relief they are looking for.