I suffer/ suffered from an annular tear in my L5-S1 for many years. I started seeing a back Dr in 2011. I had MRI's, discogram, PT, acupuncture. I received cortizone shots that lasted from 2 weeks to 6 months. In Sept 14 the insurance company denied further shots saying I did not get more than 50% relief from them. Dr recommended I get a new procedure called placental stem cell injection. The procedure is considered "experimental" by the insurance Co. but is performed all the time in Europe. I had the injection 12/19/14. The pain was a 12 for the first week. 30 days post op I walked a 5k. 5 months post op I feel great. I am back working out, and running. We will be doing a 6 month post op MRI in June. I am a 53 yo male, in fair shape prior, good health. I will keep you posted on the outcome of the MRI. Dr says he'll do a write up on the procedure after the MRI.
I know the pain you all feel and I hope my contribution helps in paving the way to another option than surgery. Don't give up hope yet, take the pain for a little while longer.
My prayers to you.