Hi guys, this is my first post but I have been following many of your posts from the shadows. Some posts actually scared me because I realized the uncertainty associated with an L4/L5 prolapse. However, certain other posts gave me hope and strength through one of the most physically and emotionally difficult periods of my life.
I'm writing this post to give hope to athletes and people who still wish to lead a healthy active lifestyle after being diagnosed with a lumbar disc prolapse. There Is light at the end of the tunnel so let me share my story with you.
All my life I was a fanatic for contact sports, power-lifting etc. so here’s my sciatic journey,
2008 Aug - L4/L5 Mild Disc Prolapse performing barbell lunges [not diagnosed, age 27]
2008 Aug - 2011 Jun [misdiagnosed as piriformis syndrome by sports doctor, visited him on an off. Since the pain was restricted to my butt, no investigation of the lumbar spine was performed]
2011 Jun - Severe radiating pain begins. Alternate doctor diagnoses it as an L4/L5 Severe herniation [classic signs of sciatica diagnosed via mri] - aggravated performing heavy squats, deadlifts and stiff-legg deadlifts prior to being diagnosed for over 2 years
2011 Jun:Oct - Minimally invasive treatments [hospitalized physio, bed rest - no joy, severe depression, alcohol abuse begins. For the first time in my life, Bodyfat % is over 18%]
during this period, most doctors in Sri Lanka discouraged surgery saying it is too dangerous. They had me pumping NSAID's on a daily basis. I concluded that, if i don't die from obesity, ill probably die from kidney/liver damage due to the nsaids and alcohol - something had to be done.
2011 Oct - Micro Discectomy performed in Chennai, India – SUCCESS!
Flew to india for a consultation and liked what i found, admitted myself immediately and asked the doc to slice n dice! SUCCESS! Leg pain is gone! But surgical pain felt pretty bad - 21st century pain killers are awesome, only felt pain during the flight back home five days post surgery.
2011 Nov - Sciatica is gone but onset of hip pain
wasnt expecting hip pain? WTH? thought I was imagining things at first.
2011 Dec - Sciatica is still gone but hip pain increasing (back in gym doing physio and machine weights)
2011 Dec – numbness returned in the leg after a few days in the gym, possible signs of sciatica? Hip pain is present!
Decided to quit gym and stop physio. I was running scared now.
2011 Jan - Sciatica is still gone but hip pain unbearable, back on NSAIDS (gym stopped)
Started behaving like a disabled person. Wasn't carrying my kids or anything. Long trips in a vehicle was murder. Hip pain was unbearable. Began to drink heavily to dull the pain and emotional garbage which comes along with feeling useless. Started blaming god and the tooth fairy for my problems.. alcohol abuse at an all time high.
2011 mid Feb – Took a week off everything and hip pain subsided flew back to India to see surgeon
I needed to change the direction my life was headed in, so i decided to fly back to see the surgeon and confront him. However, i had already begun to feel better.
2011 mid Feb – Surgeon performs various tests (physical and mri) – no nerve root impringement.
Informs me my spine is healthy, hip pain is unrelated; wants me to start pumping iron again; he knows my current life style is bad for recovery so wanted me to get back to what i was doing prior to surgery. Told me to stay off deadlifts and squats. I have New found confidence, I feel great, my hypochondria might’ve aggravated said hip pain. My mood is elevated, I'm floating... I flirt with the air hostesses incorrigibly
.. im happy
2011 March – ABSOLUTELY PAIN FREE NO MEDS - 2 weeks in the gym, back on a Bodybuilding routine sans the power lifts such as squats, dead lifts etc. Doing heavy core work, HIIT cardio on elliptical machine, swimming (2 hour routine 5 days a week) - body has begun to respond extremely well to training and new diet.
Fat has been dropping at a rate with body composition reverting back to my familiar muscular physique. People have begun to notice, asking me whether I'm back training... the compliments fuel my need to live healthy again. Alcohol has been reduced to once a week.... im enjoying every moment of my second chance...
the only thing left is some minor discomfort near the surgical incision and some mild nerve irritation along the side of my left thigh which seems to be healing day by day. Hip pain is nearly gone for good.
Moral of the story - you don't have to live with sciatica, some complications might arise post surgery but don't despair. Sometimes the body just takes sometime to heal. Don't give up, your mind can either make you or break you. don't consume alcohol during a depressing period, it'll only make things worse. Do not fear minimally invasive procedures such as microdiscectomies. But most of all, learn to get up when you fall. Never give up, never lay down and accept your fate, you can forge a new path if you try hard enough.
I hope this post will help some of you - take care and may the Gods bless you all!