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.