2 years ago, when I was 13, I began having back pain in my lower back. I am a competitive dancer, dancing everyday for 3 hours, so this really constricted me. After having an MRI they told me I had a herniated/bulging disc at my L5 S1, but at this point it wasn't on a nerve so it wasn't too severe. I did physical therapy which made the pain tolerable and I was able to go back to dance. Fast forward two years, and the pain has returned- now with sciatica as well. My second MRI showed my L5 S1 disc bulge has progressed and is now on a nerve. They gave me prednisone which helped a bit with the back pain but not the sciatica. I have shooting pain down the front of my right thigh and cramping/burning in my calf. I also have weakness in my right leg and foot. The leg pain comes whenever I'm sitting, bending, and sometimes when I'm standing or laying down. I haven't been able to exercise at all besides physical therapy. I'm going to see a spine specialist in a few weeks, mostly because they are concerned about the leg weakness leading to nerve damage, but I'm wondering about surgery. It seems that everybody that has surgery has such severe symptoms that they are barely able to walk or move at all... and while these things are painful for me I am for the most part still able to do my daily activities(except I stand all day at school and don't exercise). Also, since I am only 15, will that affect whether or not they will reccomend surgery? I'm not sure exactly what I want- I want to be able to be back and dancing as soon as possible and be done with the back and leg pain for good. I am scared if I don't have surgery at some point it will just continue to flare up.
Recap: 15 years old, L5 S1 disc bulge for the second time in 2 years, tried physical therapy three times and steroids, wondering about surgery. Sciatica and leg weakness.
Thank you- sorry this was so long.