Im 46, fit, lean, and in generally good health.
Had my first microdiscectomy in Oct 09. Got back to about 90% with strength and flexibility. Quit most of my more aggressive sports, but still really enjoy my golf. Especially the walking.
After a recent golf trip in Jan 12, I was out cleaning up debris from a wind storm and slipped on the wet rocks while picking up some limbs. The pain started with the muscles, and after about 2 weeks the nerve pain down the butt started. Suddenly my wonderful life became measured by the distance to the next cold ice pack and number of pain pills I had to get through a few hours of sleep a night. I'll probably name my next child 'Flexeril'.
After the usual measures, I was back in the MRI coffin. Blown 1-5. The axial image over 1-5 is 'R leg nerve pressure 101'. I could put it on YouTube as a perfect example of a severely herniated disk.
So now its almost 2 months later. The pain is gone, I'm sleeping normally. No more NSAID, flex, or oxy for weeks. But I have right leg weakness, no R heel/Achilles reflex, Doc recommends I get 2nd microdiscectomy. I'm scheduled for next Friday... and I'm on the verge of canceling and riding it out.
My thoughts... no pain, getting strength and feeling back, but its slow. I'm almost walking without a limp, but I can only be standing for about an hour or so, and I gotta sit. I still use ice everyday on my back. Probably more of a crutch than anything.
Do I take on all the risks of surgery, 6 weeks of rest before I get to where I am today? Or, hope I continue to improve and pray the current herniation helps prevent future blow outs? Another reason not to sleep at night.