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Sorry for long post....

MoDrums68MMoDrums68 Posts: 12
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello everyone,

I am 43 and have experienced back pain on and off for about 8 years. I have managed it myself with exercise and initially chiropractic care, although I stopped that about a year ago because I always felt worse after going.

This past summer I had pretty much continual lower back pain which looking back was pretty bad though I think I was in denial and just kept resting, taking hot baths etc etc believeing that it would pass. It would improve for a few days and then return.

About 8 weeks ago I began experiencing excrutiating left hip and thigh pain on and off. Again, It would be very bad for a day, I would take 800 mg of ibuprofen which I had not done prior, and it would improve, but it really never went away.

Then I began to get severe left calf pain, which went on for about a week until it was pretty much intolerable. At this point I noticed that I also had mild foot drop. To cut a very long story short I had an MRI that showed disc herniation at L4- L5, not surprising really looking back at my symptoms! Denial is an amazing thing.

I saw a neurologist and a pain specialist who immediately referred me to a neurosurgeon knowing that it would take a few weeks to get seen by him as he is a busy Dr. I had three epidurals, the last one about three weeks ago and I have finally had some significant pain relief this past week. The weakness is the same.

I saw the neurosurgeon two days ago. He is recommending a microdiscectomy ASAP because of weakness and stated he would have done surgery immediately had he seen me when the weakness first occured to avoid permananent damage to foot. He said there may very well already be permanent damage which I can live with but would rather not have to. He is a very well respected surgeon and works at a world renowned neurosurgical institute. I strongly believe that he is not in the business of recommending surgery when it is not indicated. Having said that, my pain has been almost non existent for the past few days, I feel so much better. The weakness is the same. I am so conflicted now and don't know what to do. Should I get a second opinion or should I go ahead with the surgery as recommended in view of the fact that the weakness is not better? Could it be the epidurals causing the pain relief now even after a few weeks?

I am sorry for the long post and so appreciate any and all feedback from you all.

Thank you.



  • hi and welcome to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. you should most certainly get a second opinion!! and a third if necessary!! surgery is so very serious and the more confirmation you have the better for your outcome!! it is a very important part of the whole process!! you say you are getting some pain relief so i would take that as a positive and go see another surgeon..check out the "Back and Neck surgery forum" for more input.. good luck to you!! i know you have lots of other questions!! i am sure others will drop by with some answers.. good luck! i hope you find pain relief soon!! Jenny :)
  • Hi Lulusheart,

    Thank you so much for your kind reply! I so appreciate your feedback.

    I am wondering whether I should have put this post in the back surgery section because I have a feeling there may be people there who may have been in a similar situation as mine.

    Thank you again! :)

  • I would get a second opinion from another surgeon before heading into surgery even with the leg weakness.
    When I had leg pain and weakness my Dr. ordered an EMG/nerve test to see if the herniated disc was causing the sciatica and weakness. Many surgeons also do a Discogram to confirm it is that disc causing the sciatica and weakness.




    After 3 EMGs I just found out there's something else causing my leg weakness and sciatica though still not confirmed. I hope you can meet again with your surgeon for more tests or another opinion from a Orthopedic or Neurosurgeon soon. Take care. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,450
    I know when I first started with my spinal problems I went to chirpractor and would feel better and go back to my former activities. "Reinjure"..if you will.. and have to start over.

    Now that you have injections and possibility of surgery..stay aligned..best of your ability..no bending, lifting, twisting etc...

    Getting second..third ..fourth opinion...all good. Spinal surgery serious business...as was said above. :)

    EMG was great test for me, also..as it revealed the most to doctor...and he had more of a plan.

    Good luck to you! Keep in touch!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hi Charry,

    Thank you so much for you response! I had an EMG and it showed that compression of the nerve root at L5 is causing my foot weakness. The MRI also showed clear nerve root compression. However, I want to avoid surgery at all cost! This has been going on for several month now though I only noticed the weakness about 6 weeks ago. I may have had it before but was in such pain that I didn't realize it. I am so happy today because I have had a totally pain free day! I can put on my socks and wash my left foot something I haven't been able to do for months. I can also sit cross legged. All of this is so encouraging for me. I also think that my toes are a bit stronger and the numbness in my foot has subsided too. All of these improvements have been gradual over the course of the past week.

    After reading many posts on here I have already decided I will not rush into surgery. I plan to go and see my lovely pain Dr and discuss this with him. He said that the epidural would not help my weakness, only possibly the pain so I have a feeling this disc may be healing itself which is what I have been hoping for. Anyway, thank you so much for your help and I will be sure to keep you posted.

  • Hi Savage,

    Thank you for your reply! I have to say I have been rather put off chiropractic care after feeling worse afterwards and being pressured strongly by the chiropractor to continue treatment after I had stopped by him using scare tactics.

    However, I totally agree with trying to keep everything aligned and strong and will indeed be very cautious about not over doing it even though I feel better than I have in months.

    I have also taken to heart all of your advice to not rush into surgery. At this point I have nothing to lose by taking my time.

    Thank you so much!

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