I had my first round of back trouble starting in 1983. I had a herniation of L5-S1. I went through the physical therapy and medication route for about 6 months. The therapy helped, but it was very temporary. A fairly new procedure was being done at that time called Chemonucleolysis and my surgeon felt that I was a good candidate for that procedure and if it worked it would allow me to avoid back surgery. I had the procedure done in mid 1984 and the relief was immediate. I was able to go back to work in about 4 weeks and never missed a day of work due to back pain in over 22 years. The only symptoms of any back problem was the Achilles Reflex never came back, the calf muscle in my right leg would almost constantly move (like an alien was inside my leg) and every now and then my right knee would buckle, but I never fell down. The Dr said that these were symptoms of the nerve damage that was caused by the herniation and may or may not get better.
Well, it did not get better...in fact it got worse. About mid year of 2006, my right leg decided it was just not going to work right anymore and I developed a limp and noticed that I was actually walking on the outside of my right foot. My leg just kept feeling weaker and weaker and it finally got to the point where my employer said that I could not safely do my job any longer, since I had to do a lot of walking and climbing. Off to the Drs I went again and found the I still have the old herniation, have developed another herniation in L4-L5, DDD in L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1 along with canal stenosis at L4-L5 and L5-S1. Throw in some Arthritis and that pretty well sums it up.
The one strange thing is that all of this has occured with basically no pain. I had 2 steroid injections, but since these did not help, the Dr decided not to do the third. I have had 2 EMG's and both of these showed that I have developed Peripheral Neuropathy.
In the last few weeks I have started having more back pain, but I do not have that awful Sciatic pian that I had 25 years ago and a lot of you are living with now. One Dr explained this to me by saying the nerve is like an onion slice and the outer bands are the pain sensors and the inner bands control movement. Apparently, my pain sensors are about shot and not having the pain has probably caused me to cause more damage.
Right now, I have a continuous movement (like a tremor) of my right foot and the muscles in my right leg are always jumping around. Noone has told me that surgery will help my leg, but they are not sure either. I don't want this to get any worse, but I don't really cherish the thought of going through surgery either, especially if it is not going to help.
Has anyone else had this kind of problem?
Sorry for being so long winded. Thanks.