I am 31 years old and I am extremely active. I play baseball, go to the gym, train in Muay Thai and Boxing, and I run in the Tough Mudders (10-12 mile extreme obstacle courses) whenever I can. I hurt my back at work and now have been getting treated for the back pain for about a year and a half. My L5 is torn and degenerating and leaking. The first doctor told me (before the MRI) it was a pinched nerve and said to stretch and get treatment through massage. After about 6 months and no change I told them to get an MRI done and as I thought it was more serious. I have gone through the series of shots and nothing has helped. Physical therapy is great because it makes me feel more stable, and it actually gives me a workout. Now the doctor is recommending a fusion. I am not really too educated on the matter, but from what he said is that it will give me a few good years and then I will need another surgery and I assume that cycle will continue. I am about to have my first child in April so I want to do whatever is going to be best long term. I was thinking of getting an artificial disc because it feels less permanent. I can get that and if the technology gets better then I might still be able to "upgrade" rather than a fusion leaving me with nowhere to go. I have also heard of Traction. A woman I know does that and had her nerve endings burned to stop the pain and she is waiting for some new treatments to come out. But I feel like if I mask the pain I still won't be able to go back to training without making it so much worse. I realize I will have to alter my training habits, but I want to at least be able to get back out there. I am not depressed from it, but I am extremely frustrated by it. I can't sleep and have constant head aches. I am like a shark... I have to always be moving. I get anxiety when I am not being active. Any recommendations for an athlete? Also I am in Southern California if anybody has any good doctors in the area to recommend they can message me. Thank you in advance everybody.