If you do not intend to have a repair of this disorder and you have no leg pain, then you should not need an MRI. A flat back position (learn to rotate your pelvis posteriorly to flatten the lower back “arch”) is helpful to reduce the amount of shear stress on this disorder. This might be difficult when playing football but can be done.
NSAIDs (Advil/Aleve) can be effective for pain. You have to be careful with these meds if you take them on a long term basis.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.