Hi everybody. :H This is my first post, but I'm a long time reader. Lots of useful info here.
I've had lower back pain on and off for the last ten years or so (I'm 27). My first flare up occurred when I was 17, but for years in my early twenties, I had no pain or problems at all. Then about a year and a half ago, I noticed the pain but it wasn't bad enough for me to seek any treatment. One day however I woke up in so much pain, I had to go to the ER. The doctor at the ER said it sounded like a bulging disc, but I didn't get an MRI done until almost 6 months later, which did show that I had a bulging/herniated disc in my lower back. I actually switched doctors because my PCP at the time was not taking me seriously, I had to actually seek out a new doctor and ask for an MRI. Anyway, since the MRI I've had two absolutely debilitating flare-ups. I can't walk more than two feet without painful spasms, and I am only mildly comfortable laying down when these flareups happen. My husband has to do pretty much everything for me, and while I appreciate and love him, it's humiliating. When I'm not having a flare-up, the pain is still always there in some capacity. I'm sore every morning and have trouble getting out of bed, I have trouble with shoes, teeth brushing, walking my dog, getting in and out of cars, pretty much everything. I feel like I'm in my 80s and I am only 27.
I am at my wit's end. I've tried physical therapy twice, (the second time I think actually made it worse), massage, stretches (I do them religiously every day, sometimes twice), heat, ice, every type of med (naproxen, mobic, flexeril, steroids, vicodin) and all of these only give temporary relief. I am also not comfortable with being on any kind of med for a long time.
My new PCP wants to me get a second opinion from another neurosurgeon (the first one I saw, for a total of about ten minutes, recommended flexeril and physical therapy, after I told him I already tried both of those things). I found a highly recommended one with great reviews in my area, and I want to ask him about microdiscectomy. I have been against surgery for the longest time, but I feel like I'm running out of options and I can't live like this anymore. From what I understand, microdiscectomy is minimally invasive, and the recovery time isn't too long. Does anyone know anymore about this procedure, as far as recovery, pain, if it actually works? Any help or advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for reading.