After hurting myself in the gym, I have had lower back pain and sciatica radiating down into the left leg for the past three months. The pain has improved from months 1 and 2, where I could hardly walk without an electric shock type pain down my leg, but it is still there. It is still enough to keep me from doing any phsyical activity other than walking, and it is beginning to get to me. I have tried two chiropractors, several stretching routines and am currently taking Naproxen. I had an MRI done a couple days ago and here are the results:
At l3-4, there is a small left protrusion mildly compressing and posteriorly displacing the traversing left l4 nerve root in the lateral recess. There is a small focus of extruded disc caudal to the disc protrusion, and mild flattening and deformity of the thecal sac on the left.
At l4-5, there is a mild posterior disc bulge and mild bilatera facet arthrosis, resulting in mild lateral recess stenosis bilaterally.
At l5-s1 there is mild disc degeneration with posterior disc bulge and mild bilateral facet arthrosis.
So the impression of the radiologist was that the small left posterolateral disc protrusion at l3-4 is mildly compressing and posteriorly displacing the traversing left l4 nerve root in the lateral recess, and my doctor believes this is the main cause of the problem. I've had trouble understanding if the l3-4 disc is truly herniated because the report said "small left protrusion".
Anyways, my doctor has given me three options. Physical therapy, spinal decompression and acupuncture. However, with my first year at university beginning at the end of this month and the $900 we spent on a private MRI, there is no way I can afford to trial and error with any of these treatments. I am very phsyically fit otherwise and I am sure that I can do any exercises properly without the need for a PT as long as I know what exactly I'm trying to work on. Many people have told me that disc problems never really go away and that scares me because as of now, I spend the entirety of my day researching and thinking about my pain. I don't want this to consume the rest of my life, and I am willing to risk surgery if that's what it takes to fix it.
I'm posting this in hope that there is someone else who has been through a similar situation and can guide me in the right direction or shed light on the reality of my problem.