I am new to this forum and this is my first post. I am 28 years old and a computer nerd plagued with bad posture from sitting at a desk all day. I believe my injury occurred in October of 2008 and by April of 09 it got so bad that I finally went to the doctor - My PCP sent me to physical therapy thinking it was a muscle in my back that was causing the issue. I went to PT for 2 months and got some relief but was nowhere close to normal. My PT gave up on me and sent me back to my doctor.
Before I went back to my doctor I went to a chiropractor for about a month. He was able to relieve some pain but it still wasn't enough for me. I went back to my PCP and sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon who took one look at me and said, “You have a herniated disc.” We got an MRI to confirm and sure enough it is a bulge in the L5 pressing up against the S1 nerve? This was confirmed in early December.
Up to this point I describe my pain at around a 6 or 7 out of 10. I can walk around with a slight limp and sleep fine, sitting for long times is painful and getting in and out of the car hurts. Going to the movie theatre is out of the question. I still feel I am better off than most as I am still pretty mobile and active and can usually deal with the pain. Laying down will make things feel better. Before my back issues I used to be a runner and into Jiu-jitsu, these I can no longer do but want to get back into it someday (Maybe skipping the running).
I had an injection 3 and half weeks ago and felt instant relief. I felt almost no pain and was walking completely normal like my old self; it felt so good it almost brought me to tears. After about 2 weeks the pain came back a little bit but nothing like it was before. I am going to the gym and doing stretches and feel like I am heading in the right direction. I am nervous that the injection is just masking the issue and that I am not actually getting better and that it’s just the medicine.
I feel my options are to get the microdiscecotmy or just keep exercising. Will either option get the pain to go away and put me back to normal? I’ve read to many bad stories about the surgery that I am really hesitant to do it, but a part of me wants to feel that normal feeling I had with the injection so bad that I am willing to gamble it. Will going down the exercise and stretching routine get me to a point where I am satisfied? I have read stories about people doing things like the McKenzie workout that have helped. Maybe I should try PT again, this time focusing on a herniated disc, instead of a muscle spasm. I am afraid if I try fighting it off, that if I wait too long it will only make it harder to fix with surgery. So far I am up to a year and four months.
The orthopedic surgeon I am going to was recommended to me from a friend who got the surgery with no problems, and I really like this guy. Should I get a second opinion from a neurologist anyway? And how do I tell him that I want a second opinion. My dad had this surgery twice, once by a ortho surgeon and one by a neuro surgeon. The first one done by an ortho surgeon was unsuccessful and the one done by the neuro surgeon worked. Any suggestions for me would be greatly appreciated.