You have just discovered the dilemma patients and doctors face every day. Evidence-based medicine requires that treatment applied must be proven effective -- otherwise what's the point of spending time and money on something that doesn't work?
But study after study either shows the treatment didn't make any difference or one study says 'Yes' it helped and another says 'No' it didn't.
Recently a group of researchers did us all a favor. They carefully reviewed the results of traditional, alternative, and surgical treatment for lumbar disc herniations. What they found mirrors your own discovery. Here are a few highlights:
Without a clear "best" treatment, this group of researchers suggests taking it one step at a time. Wait and see if your body heals on its own. If it doesn't, then try physical therapy. If that doesn't help, consider steroid injections and/or surgery.
Very long-term studies show that the final result (10 years later) seems to be about the same for all patients regardless of the treatment. Some say if this is so, then find the path that works best for you based on symptom control.