Using minimally invasive lumbar microdiscectomy, this doctor is able to get you out of the hospital the same day and greatly reduce the at-home recovery time. As someone who spent 3 days in the hospital and a month recovering, I like the sound of it.
In the new surgical procedure, a small incision is made in the spine, and a port or cylinder is inserted. It splits the muscle as it makes its way in, and enlarges to give the surgeon a workable space. From there, the pressure is removed from the nerve.
In the older procedure, a larger incision would be made and the muscle would be moved and peeled away from the bone. This is the reason for the longer recovery time and after-surgery pain.
Of course, the new surgery is not for everyone. The best candidate has a standard disk problem, and is of average weight. Certain situations, like being very overweight can hinder the procedure.
I have found it helpful to do the stretching exercises my physical therapist recommends. Do some core strengthening exercises, such as the ones highlighted at The Mayo Clinic. By keeping your core strong, your back won't put itself in a position to cause that sciatica pain you are having.