Well, this is my first time posting here, so I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Steve and at 19 years old, I am probably the youngest person ever to post on this forum. I am 6'1, 215lbs and currently a sophomore at Rutgers University double majoring in Economics and Biology with the future plans of going to Medical school.
And to the issue at hand, as I have learned from an MRI done sometime around November 1st, I have DDD running down from L3 to L5, a bulging disc at L2 and L3, a herniated disc at L4 with moderate nerve impingement, and what my Sports Medicine Doc states is "Quite an impressive herniation with obvious impingement on L5-S1."
Before I continue--I'd like to share a little bit more about myself, and apologize in advance for going into such detail about my issue. I'm just worried I'm never going to be able to do the things I've taken for granted in the past. I'm extremely active (or I should say was extremely active). Through my youth I played football, and in high school I started Wrestling, playing football, and throwing the shot-put, discus, and javelin during track season. I was a Varsity starter as a Freshmen in Wrestling and Track. I believe I can pinpoint where my back problems began right here as I weighed in at 205lbs but wrestled in the 275lbs weight class--as a result my back took a lot of pounding from larger individuals. Continuing through high school, and on to my senior year I was a state ranked wrestler, an All-County DE in Football, and all county shot-put thrower in Track and Field. I received scholarships to go to several schools for wrestling, but decided on going to Rutgers because they offered me a full tuition scholarship because I didn't want to wrestle as a Freshmen--I simply wanted to focus on my grades, get leaner, stronger and healthier.
Well, nothing happened as planned. During my second semester in college(this past spring) while play wrestling with one of my buddies on the team, I managed to tear the ACL in my left knee. That sucked. I had knee surgery and had the ACL reconstructed with a patella tendon alograft off of a cadaver on March 19th of this year. Five months later, some time around mid-august, with a ton of hard-work, my knee was finally feeling healthy. Great! Or so I thought. For as my knee was getting healthy, I started feeling a sharp pain in my right glute whenever I went to stretch the hamstring on that leg. I thought maybe it was just really tight so I began putting an effort in stretching it every day. However, that sharp pain when stretching kept persisting--the 'tightness' would not go away. So I scheduled an appointment with my doc. However, just 2 days prior to my appointment, while jumping rope to warm-up in order to stretch some more, I felt a little crackle in my upper right glute/low back, and from that point on I began feeling severe and constant pain at 8 on a 10 scale focused in my right glute. All I could was lay flat on my stomach, laptop in hand and research everything that caused gluteal pain. Luckily I had an appointment with my doc in just two days. He wasn't sure what it was, so he referred me to his colleague, a Sports MD Specialist. The Sports MD guy believed it was a herniated disc but wasn't sure, so he gave me a bunch of drugs for the pain and told me to see him in a week. Within that week the pain had progressed down my leg into the outside of my right calve and down the outside of my right foot. He had me get an MRI and referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon and PT. The Orthopedic Surgeon took a look at the MRI and saw that a fragment of the L5-S1 disc was lodged in my spine and recommended that I have the surgery to get it removed as it was also impinging on a nerve. Just having gotten done dealing with surgery and recovery period of a torn ACL, I was really against the surgery. I thought to myself, "I'm 19 years old for christ sake, I'm going to heal." However, he insisted that it was really open and shut. Either I'd have to wait 3-6 months for my body to recognize that the disc was not supposed to be there and for it to break it down, or I could have the surgery to get it removed. He also mentioned that my body may never break it down.
5 weeks later, after several sessions with a PT and a 7 day course of Prednisone for it's anti-inflammation affect, I feel much better and am able walk, and even jog a little bit, though awkwardly. I still have weakness in my right calve, I have no achilles tendon reflex, and hamstring stretches still send a sharp pain up my glute. My biggest issue though is sitting down. I I could live with everything else, but the ability to sit down a not be in pain is just something I cannot live without. I cannot sit down for longer than 30 seconds without feeling pain in my upper right glute. It's completely debilitating. Being a pre-med major, I have quite a number of difficult classes. It's difficult enough taking notes in lectures when I'm 100%, but not being able to sit down just makes it impossible for me to learn anything. And my grades have suffered. I'm really just overwhelmed--I feel like all my dreams are going down the toilet. That I'm never going to be able to wrestle again, that my grades will never be good enough for Med School, heck even my social life is non-existent as some days all I am able to do is just lay down.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. For those of you who have read this far, I really thank you! Any advice you can offer would be a real relief. Should I go ahead and get the surgery ASAP? Or should I wait it out, continue the PT and hope that the disc fragment dissolves itself? My fear is getting the surgery only for the issue not to be resolved--that there's something else causing the Sciatica. Or worse, surgery causing even more complications. I've read so many topics of people with failed surgeries and multiple surgeries. Thanks again in advance!