a little background on me I'm 41 6 feet tall and around 209 lbs. I don't smoke drink or do drugs. I have had back problems most of my life, and in feb 2000 I had a laminectomy to fix a ruptured L4/5 disc and give me some pain relief, it worked great been for the most part back pain free until last year(Dec 2008/Jan 2009) started getting the same pains down my leg. I knew what was going on so I had an MRI and it confirmed that I ruptured the same disc again. Well I was told by my surgeon that if I was to have surgery again it would have to be a fusion, I decided to get a cortisone shot in hopes of relieving the pain and hopefully give the disc time to heal on its own. The shot worked to get me out of pain for about 4-6 months but in Nov of 2009 it started to wear off and the pain came back with force I didn't have insurence to get another shot, due to being laidoff so I suffered for the winter. I started back to work in April and got my insurence back made an appointment with my GP to get another referal to get another cortisone shot and also an updated MRI, which still shows the ruptured disc at L4/5 and now a central bulge on the L3/4 disc.
I don't have major pain all the time and for the most part it tolerable, I get some sharp pains in my calf (like someone jabbing me with a pin) and other milder pains in both legs. I get pain in my buttocks if I sit too long or if I stand too long, especially in the tailbone. and while sitting or laying down if I raise my leg I get a nice sharp pain in my back along with groin pain. I haven't had time to get a cortisone shot yet due to work. and i've never been one to take pills.
I can do most things without too much pain, I work about 8-10 hours a day driving truck( I get out about every hour).
I have a few questions that I would like some opinions on.
1. If I don't have surgery will I end up with nerve damage?
2. Since its been ruptured for a year and a half any chance it will heal on its own?
3. Would you consider surgery if the pain was daily but mild most of the time?
4. Would you have surgery to get back the quality of life you had before the injury?
I know nobody here is a doctor I just want other peoples opinions.