i had slipped disks about 4 years ago and bulging disks over this past summer. I couldn't lean back in any chair and had to sit on the edge and lean forward so it wouldn't hurt. i went through physical therapy, back injections to take the inflammation down, and then finally surgery. the healing process after surgery really sucked because i was in the hospital for 5 days and bed rest for almost 2.5 weeks.
As far as PT goes, they will have you do a good amount of stretching and squats. They might even put you in traction, which stretches out your back, depending on how severe the problem is.