Hi everyone. Been spending a lot of time reading the various posts on these boards, some are encouraging while others are not.
I'm 35 and have had lower back pain since I was a teenager. About 3 1/2 months ago, the pain which had up to that point been mostly simply an annoyance finally flared up to the point where I couldn't get off the floor. All of the pain at that point was isolated to the lower back.
The MRI showed a fairly large herniation at the L5/S1 level. After getting an injection, the back pain largely subsided, but then I suddenly began getting weak in my left leg. Not a lot of pain yet at this point, just weakness in my calf and inability to walk with a normal gait. Over the next couple of months, I received 2 more injections which didn't help nearly as much as the first. I've regained a lot of the strength I lost, including a reflex in my lower leg which had been gone, but now my leg pain, which starts in my butt and goes down, sometimes to my foot, has gotten worse.
My activity levels are limited to a very short walk, preparing a meal or two for myself and spending the rest of the time laying down. Doing any more than that aggravates the leg symptom to a degree that makes it hard just to get up off the floor (where I've been sleeping for 3 months now).
That said, I opted for the surgery on August 4th and am just wondering what to expect. I'm told by my neurosurgeon that because of the size of my herniation, he can't use the typical 'tube' method to conduct the surgery, and will have to make a slightly larger incision. This means cutting muscles rather than pushing the tubes between them, which I assume would cause a longer recovery period. I'm just completely scared that this is going to make things worse--such as, causing the back pain I experienced early on to return. I don't think I could live with that for any prolonged period of time.
I'm also concerned because after my initial MRI, I think I further herniated the disc by coughing hard, so I wonder how much more damage is going on in there than the docs are aware of.
Sorry for being so long-winded. I guess I'm largely just venting and wondering if I'm doing the right thing by getting the surgery. 3 1/2 months seems like a long time to go with the more conservative methods, but I'm not completely bed-ridden so I hope I'm not jumping the gun here. That said, I couldn't go out for dinner or to a movie still as sitting for any more than 10 -20 minutes at a time ruins my whole day.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I wish you all success with your surgeries and pain relief.