well, let's start with my story..
I did gymnastics very competitively for 16 years and pole vault for 6 years, and 6 years ago I fell on my head while performing a floor routine. That summer started all of my back pain, I was told I had a herniated L4-L5, but as long as I wore a soft brace I could continue all activity. The pain was in my lower back and all down my right leg. I continued gymnastics and pole vault the rest of h.s. with the brace, and went to a pt place, where they referred me to an amazing neurosurgeon. He is very conservative, and therefore did not want to consider surgery. I continued pole vault freshman year of college, and this is when the pain got even worse, with weakness in my right leg, awful sciatic pain, and constant throbbing pain in my back.
This is when we tried my first epidural steroid injection, which only made me feel worse. My pain got so bad that I could not even put my own socks and shoes on. In December of '08 I had a microdiscectomy w/partial hemilaminectomy for the L4-L5. Recovery was amazing, I was back to pole vaulting in three months, with full release of my neurosurgeon. I continued pt to keep up strength and get adjusted when needed.
Then, in March of '10 the back pain came back again with pain down the left leg this time. We did another MRI, probably my 4th MRI of my back in 3 years,and eventually a miligram that showed a herniation of L5-S1, which I was told was a possibility when going back to sports. I stopped doing pole vault, and well, working out all together because of pain. This is when we tried the epidural steroid injection again, and again it made me feel worse. I had a microdiscetomy on L5-S1 June of '10. The pain right after surgery was horrible, and I ended up staying a night in the hospital. Recovery was rough this time around. Both calves were numb, and my left hamstring felt like somebody was digging a knife into it all the way down my thigh. After three weeks the pain went away, but my left calf has been numb since. I have gone in and out of being slightly active, and as soon as I try to jog the pain comes back.
I had another MRI in October, but the results came back "normal". We tried a new pt place, which definitely helped for a good 2 months, but again, as soon as we went back to jogging or elliptical the pain down my left leg came back. Now the pain goes down both legs, only to mid-thigh, and my left calf is like pins and needles. My lower back gets so stiff at times that I can't focus on anything else. I just went back to the ns today and again, he is making me try another injection, even though I told him they do not help. All he keeps saying is that I am too young for another surgery, but we have tried all other options. I just don't know what to do anymore, I can't workout, which was my life for so long, and sitting through college classes is so tough some days. I don't want another surgery, but I want to finally feel better.
BTW, I am 21 years old now. Has anyone else experienced this exhausting, never ending cycle of pain, and slight improvement, just to go back to pain? What helped you get through the rough patches?
Sorry this is so long..