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I actually work with herniated disc problems.
Both of your clients are correct, one can do rehab, or opt for surgery.
Procedure in the US is usually rehab 1st and if no improvement, then surgery. (Each patient is individually evaluated as everyone is different)
The disc problem is a very mechanical problem and exercise can usually resolve most of it.
However, it does depend on how big your bulge is. If you can provide me with the level(L2-L3 or L4-L5 etc), size in mm and the direction of the herniation.
What makes the pain worse and better. How often does the episode occur? Is it always after a certain thing you do or movement(such as getting up from chair)
This will give me more info on what exercises to do and what not to do.
Been looking at your blog for about a year and really appreciate your thoughts.
Anyway, you may email me at me registered email