I had (have?) a bulging disk in my back. The disk presses on the nerves, causing a level of pain that immobilizes me. The first time it built up chronically, I got to the point where I was quite sure the pain was due to metastatic cancer in my bones. I became quite irrational. That first bout was fixed by physical therapy, learning to do the right stretches, and TENS treatments.
It's grumbled occasionally since, but about a year ago, I bent down to get something out of the dishwasher and it kicked in so abruptly and excruciatingly that I dropped to the floor and had to remain face down on the floor for 30 minutes before I felt like I could breath again.
What has helped me most over the years is just the knowledge that I need to get the disk away from the nerve. So doing back stretches (cobra stretch, for example). Once it's horribly bad, strapping my TENS unit to my back is the only thing that allows me to function. I wore it to a theater once--felt like I was wired with explosives!!!!
I would want to ask for 2nd and 3rd opinions if anyone suggested back surgery. My understanding is that many back surgeries are either untested or studies find them no more effective than physical therapy.
Zone diet on and off for several years....worked, but too much focus on exact meal composition
Primal since July 2010...skinniest I've ever been and the least stressed about food