Here is a link to my recent MRIhttp://dl.dropbox.com/u/16846982/My MRI.jpg
I am scheduled for a discectomy on January 7.
I am a 56 year old male in reasonable condition. I've had a herniated disk at S1/L5 for over 20 years. About every 6 months plus or minus, it flares up and I can hardly walk for a day or 2. Then after a few days more, I'm back to "normal".
2 months ago I had a severe flare up. Unlike all past occasions, this time I have severe pain down my left leg. From the buttock downward (back of my thigh) is numb, cramping in my calf, and numbness in my left foot, heel and 2 toes. Had the above mentioned MRI and you can visualize the bulge. I think my symptoms are classic S1 nerve root compression.
This particular episode, the back pain resolved in about 7 days, but the leg pain persists. (2 months and counting) Met with a spinal neurosurgeon, and he suggested a discectomy.
I've been taking Vicodin 500mg twice daily along with naproxen. I've been on this regime for about 3 weeks.
However, with about 10 days to go before the scheduled surgery, my leg pain is getting a bit better. Is this due to the anti-inflamatories? (Still cant put on my own socks though!) So now I'm thinking, gee I'm starting to feel a bit better, should I put the surgery off? If I do, I can almost guarantee that I will be in the same boat again in the not too distant future. If surgery in in my future, then I would like to get it done now rather than later. Is this crazy thinking?
I've decided to stop all the drugs and reevaluate my leg pain in 5 or 6 days.
Oh, I also have an inversion table that I use to decompress, twice a day for a few minutes at a time. And I have also had physical therapy in the past and it seemed to make zero difference.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.