I've been dealing with a blown L-5 S1 disc (11 mm, according to the MRI) for about 5 months now. I've tried one ESI and one selective nerve root injection and have just started PT per the suggestion of the surgeon.
The last injection DID bring SOME relief, it's still not enough to be fully functional again. I am ready to throw in the towel and have a microdiscectomy. The PT who I've been seeing (and not affiliated with the surgeon) said to me that this herniation is probably just too large for anything other than surgery to help. He also said that I would probably do really well with surgery as the MRI shows absolutely NO other issues. It's almost all sciatica and maybe 5% back pain.
I like and trust this surgeon as well. (I fired the 1st one) He is with the well respected Rothman Institute in Phila.
My problem is the reaction of friends and family members, who practically recoil when I mention having surgery. They then launch into some horror story about someone they know or someone they've heard about. I think the uninitiated think every back surgery is a fusion. I then explain that they will just remove the part of the disc that is causing the problem, and there are no screws, pins or other hardware involved.
They suggest things like chiropractors and massage therapists. When I asked my GP about chiropractors it was not only a "no", it was a "hell no!".
I know it's just that they care, but the stories and the advice make me second guess myself.
Has anyone here faced this, and how did you deal with friends and family?