I am new to this but am desperately looking for someone who has been in a similar situation.
I have had some back problems over the years (I'm a paramedic and past firefighter for 25 years). I fell out of the back of the ambulance and landed on my butt and hit my shoulder in Dec 07. Most of the tx at that time focused on my shoulder but I did also have some lower back and right hip pain. In the fall of 08 I began to have lower back pain and went to chiropractor. He helped some but then said he could do no more. In Jan of 09 I saw a spine specialist and she did an MRI. She said I had a slight tear at L4 L5 and a slight bulge at L5 S1. She said both were not a big deal and that I should be able to continue with my profession for as long as I liked. I did do some physical therapy at that time.
On June 21st 09 I was doing CPR on a patient in the back of the ambulance and felt something move in my lower back. A MRI the next day showed that the slight bulge was now larger and pushing on my nerve root. I went through steroid therapy and then PT. No improvement but now I also had numbness and tingling in my right lower leg and foot. My workmans comp Dr. (I've known him for 18 years) sent me to a neurosurgeon and he had my do more PT. At the end of August we all decided the tingling and numbness was only getting worse so I made the decision after talking to both doctors to go ahead with a disc removal. On Sept. 10th the Dr. remove L5 S1 disc totally and put in 2 spacers and a stabilizing bar. He also cleaned up some of the rough bone pieces. Using these pieces he made a paste and built it up around one of the spacers. I was released from the hospital 3 days later. My post surgery instructions were no lifting or bending. Walking and activities as tolerated. I was also given a prescription to start PT 2 weeks later. (I have been on tramadol and valium since June and he continued these.)
First week was rough but I expected that. My husband stayed home with my and I did ok. I walked 8 to 10 min 3 times a day and moved around as suggested so I didn't get too stiff.
I started PT 2 weeks ago and my pain has only gotten worse. We have backed off to a minimum and I also began going to the YMCA for walking in the water and such.
I still have constant pain in my back (2 or so in am, up to 6 or so by pm) with meds. My question is: Is this normal for being 4 weeks post surgery? I also have worsening numbness, pain and tingling in my lower right leg and foot. I see my surgeon on Tuesday but I'd also like to hear from people who have "been there."
Has anyone out there had similar surgery? I know everyone has different reactions, but I really didn't expect this much pain this far out.
Also, I was told that this was my only chance to go back to working as a medic. Now everyone I talk to says they can't believe that I really think I can go back. (my job description requires that I be able to lift 100 lbs and carry people up and down stairs.) Anyone think this is possible or am I in denial.
I would really appreciate any and all comments.
By the way, I'm a 47 yof who before this was in pretty good shape. I used to run 10 Ks and lift regularly.