If you have good insurance then I'd get surgery if a Dr. you trust recommends that as an option. I had spine surgery this winter and it is healing fine. If it continues to heal fine then I'll be returning to kayaking with no restrictions next year except that I'll probably take a few "todos" off of my list, like sack up and run Double Trouble. Every time I run Big South I'm thinking this is the day and then I see the drop and say what was I thinking I'm walking dude. I'll keep walking that one.
I imagine that your back is going to have a lot more power over your life than you are going to like unless you fix it for good. Once you do that, you can hit the gym hard and get ready to paddle the way you want to paddle.