I started having lower back problems in 2009. The bouts of my back "going out" became progressively worse and more frequent and in August 2012 I had an MRI. It showed desiccated L4-5 and L5-S1 discs, contained bulge at L2-L3, left posterior paracentric protrusion at L4-L5 and small annular tear and protrusion at L5-S1. All protrusions were impressing on nerves and causing me radiating hip and leg pain. The doctor had sent me to PT for about 3 sessions prior to the MRI, but the PT sent me back to him and told him I needed the MRI so she knew exactly what the issues were. After the MRI, the doctor offered me a Medrol pack. By that time, my pain had decreased so I opted to hold off on further PT and meds unless/until the pain worsened.
Since that time, I have continued to have the same problems. There are times when my back pain is tolerable and doesn't interfere with my daily activities enough to prompt me to seek treatment. And then there are times when the discs slip again and really cause me issues. Twice I've called to go back into the doctor, he's unavailable for like 4-6 weeks, and by the time my appointment rolls around the pain has subsided so I cancel the appointment. Well I'm in the midst of another bout of pain and I'm torn about whether or not to bother going back to the doctor, or whether to just accept that this is a chronic condition that I'm going to just have to deal with.
I don't want steroids to mask the pain. Only in the event that my condition becomes very severe would I consider steroids or surgery. I prefer natural alternatives at this stage. I've contemplated whether or not I would get any benefit by returning to PT. And I also wonder if I should return to get another MRI to see how things are progressing. I don't want to do further damage if I can help it, but I don't want to waste money on doctor's visits or PT if there's little that can be done.