I recently posted in the Sciatica forum, but figured Lower Back Pain is more appropriate. Today I went to pick up my MRI and then visit a doctor, who confirmed what I had already thought that happened. Another disc bulge.
7 years ago when I was 16 years old, I had Emergency Surgery due to L4/L5 pressing onto the cauda equina. Since then life has been wonderful, the surgery was 99% successful. Now I started feeling back pain again and some pain and numbness in my legs. And yes, an MRI showed a bulge at L4/L5 again.
Now I'm concerned and I'm not sure what to do. Does a bulge usually herniate? I've read on some websites that the two are the same, although I always believed they were different. Am I wrong? Now, when a disc herniates, is that significantly more painful than a bulge? Also, I'm experiencing some intense leg burning, especially when lying down. It's very uncomfortable. The last couple of days I've also developed a pretty high fever every night - and I usually wake up full of sweat and chills. It's hard to get out of bed when you're so cold. Could this have anything to do with my back, or would this be something completely different? I've never heard of a fever accompanying a disc bulge... but, maybe you guys know something I don't? Also, when the fever is at it best, my face feels numb. Any thoughts on that?
I'm quite worried that this disc will hit the cauda equina again - do you guys think that there is a pretty high chance of that happening? "My" doctor ("" because it's the first time I've gone to him) seems to think that the chances are slim, but I'm just not so sure. I almost don't want to know the answer because, as I'm living in Georgia (the country) right now, I'm not certain that they have all the necessary resources for a successful surgery. At the same time, I can't imagine going back to Canada and leaving my new life here.
Lastly (sorry for all the questions), Doc said PT should help. Now I'm worried because I've read so many horror stories about PT. In your experiences, has PT helped or made things worse? And also, does losing weight REALLY help the pain? I'm overweight and Doc seems to think that if I lose weight, it will help the bulging disc a lot. Of course, common sense - extra weight, extra strain etc... I know. I've tried to lose weight, and I have but always bounced back. Food is unfortunately my friend. I've gone through some years where I've been emotionally drained and depressed and food was the only thing that would make me temporarily feel like I could go on. I have already started changing my eating habits (did not touch that chocolate that was lying on the counter since yesterday) and I do plan on losing weight, but I just don't want to have any false hopes. I don't want to think that if I lose all the weight, my back will be back to how it was before the bulge. I guess I just want to keep being realistic.
I appreciate your help and your comments. Sorry to be jumping around on the forums...