I have had long term (3 years) problems with the same back injury - prolapsed disc at L5S1 - all the usual sciatica symptoms right down to my feet, terrible pain. This was not too severe on the first episode, painful but manageable and unchanging with moderate treatment. Whilst stretching my hamstring I further injured it about 18 months ago. I spent a month on the floor and was unable to walk properly for about 6 months.
I took the option of 'trying' with physiotherapy and an epidural injection but the symptoms persisted. I escalated the problem with my GP and finally I got to see a neurosurgeon about 8 months ago who said that given the time I have suffered, a microdiscectomy would be the most sensible way forward - at that time I was taking anti inflammatory tablets every day for the pain.
Since then I have been on a waiting list for an op, but the condition has got steadily better.
I am now off the painkillers and with a little stretching each day the pain is manageable. I am much less flexible than I used to be and cannot ride a bike or run like I used to but I must say I don't notice my back pain most days apart from a few muscle cramps in my hamstring and the need to maintain a very strict posture. I do need to have a good 'twist and crack' each morning to loosen off - the cracking of my back happens much easier than it used to which worries me a little but I become uncomfortable unless I do this.
Today I got notification that my microdiscectomy surgery will be in 5 weeks time and I am now wondering whether I should go ahead:
- Is the condition now serious enough to warrant surgery?
- Should I go ahead anyway to make sure the problem is dealt with in a definite way?
- If I don't get the surgery done now, and the condition stays static, I may regret not having it sorted once and for all.
My main worry is that I will be taking unnecessary risk, and that, when the surgeon gets to work, he will find nothing of significance that needs attention.
Thanks for reading