I've had lower back pain for many years and have tried many treatments, including physical therapy (mainly stretching hip flexors), acupuncture, yoga, pilates (reformer), tai chi and swimming. Over the years, my lower back pain/foot tingling has been controlled, largely due to strengthening of muscles that are weak (core strength) and maintaining flexibility.
My original diagnosis was disk herniation at L4-L5 & L5-S1 back in 2012 via an MRI. My physical therapist at the time told me that a lot of people have herniated disks but have no symptoms. That was very confusing to me. The funny thing was that my first symptom was tingling in my left foot (what I think is known as sciatica). It was hard to know it was related to the spine, until someone told me it might be a pinched nerve (what if someone never told me?!). I think my pain began because I started working and sitting at the computer a lot. I was also working for long hours and couldn't go to the gym often, and of course there was the stress of deadlines.
I didn't find Google or WebMD too useful because it took me a lot of time to go through material and I didn't understand most of the medical terms. Some of the results I got also have conflicting advice on MRI interpretations and what treatments would work. I did, however, find patient forums very useful. I was able to share the pain (pun-intended) because I could relate to people in the discussions and their own personal challenges. Throughout my multi-year journey, I took other people's experiences to help my own. I remember the first advice I got from a fellow yogi was to read Dr. John Sarno's book. It was an interesting read I have to say. Did it help? Probably. But how much, I'm not sure.
I recently had a friend of a friend who had lower back surgery because they pain was excruciating. It was deemed successful, but no one expected that there could be a blood clot in the leg days after. I had another friend who successfully had surgery and she has been doing very well and started a family. I feel that you just never have the information to know beforehand and you hear how sometimes it turns out for the better and hope. I wish there was a way for us to know beforehand what are the main events that could happen for people with lower back pain. I'm wondering what other peoples' experiences are with managing their lower back pain and if they found particular resources helpful.