I was hoping someone might be able to shed some light on a situation I am in. Here is a little background...
I am a healthy 28 yr old female who is pretty active. About 5 months ago I started to feel a sharp pain on the lower left part of my back. I figured that it was a "pinched" nerve and that it would go away on it's own. Thought I must have injured it while working out. As time went by, the pain was in and out. On November 23, the pain came back and was pretty intense. That night, the pain was a 10+ (10 being the worst). It radiated all the way down my left leg. I decided to go to my general practitioner the next day to see what was going on as I was getting on a plane to LA the next day. He said it sounded like I had sciatica and wanted to give me a cortisone shot. I denied the shot and left with a prescription for an anti-inflammatory instead.
The pain was bad once I landed in LA but then oddly enough it went away. What took it's place instead was numbness accompanied with weakness in my left leg. Once I returned to home, I saw a neurologist and a neurosurgeon. I had an MRI, CAT scan and X Ray and was told that I have a partial foot drop that was caused by a Far left lateral herniated disc at L4/L5 and that I needed surgery. I was also told that unrelated to this, I have a large par fracture at L5. This was back in the beginning of Dec.
I got a second opinion from an orthopedic surgeon who said that I should wait on surgery and give it a few weeks to see if I get better. When I asked about possible nerve damage, he said that no studies have proven that this is the case from herniated disc. Is this true?
Needless to say, it's now the middle of January, my leg is still numb and I don't have full strength in my leg. It has definitely improved from the first day but it's not 100%. I would like to avoid surgery but if I am making it worse by trying to wait it out, I will consider it. Can anyone offer any advice on how I should handle this and what my next step should be? I have received opposing views form the neurosurgeon and the orthopedic surgeon so I am as confused as ever.
Many many thanks.