About a year ago now, I had an application in for the armed forces, and during my training I injured my back. Half way through a set of situps on an incline situp bench, I felt my back twinge, and stopped thinking I'd perhaps over done it. The next morning, the pain was phenomenal, and included pain I'd never experienced before (classic sciatica pain, including sporadic pins and needles, numbness, dull aching, weakness in the legs etc).
To cut a long story short, after about 4 months of trying to convince my doctor that I didn't feel these symptoms were minor, and that they were getting steadily worse and impinging massively on my life as a 19 year old man, I had an X-ray on the NHS, which I was told revealed nothing 'significantly wrong' with my back. After another 2 months of continued complaints on my part, I had an MRI on the NHS which revealed: 'There is a moderate sized central zone disc protrusion at L5/S1 impinging on the left S1 nerve root. There is early facet joint arthrosis in the lower lumbar spine'.
After having these symptoms for a year, I've finally been referred to the 'Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service in the Physiotherapy department', and have an appointment there in a couple of weeks.
As noted, this injury has had a significant impact on my life. I've had to permanently wave goodbye to any prospect of the career of my dreams in the forces, quit a band due to not being able to stand in the same position with a guitar hanging off me for any length of time over 15 minutes, quit all physical activity/sports club due to the immense sciatic pain/general uncomfortableness caused through such activities.
So my question is, what remedies (long term) are they likely to offer in your opinion? Can physiotherapy make the protruded disc retract permanently (i.e. no pain, play sports again etc), or am I looking at the prospect of an operation? If so, am I right in thinking decompression surgery would be relevant in my case?
Apologies for the lengthy post, but thanks massively in advance for anyone who chooses to engage it/answer any of my queries.