This is my first time posting here but I've been reading the forum for several weeks and have found it to be very useful!
I'm 25 years old and have always been pretty active - lots of yoga, hiking, and spin classes. About six weeks ago I was in a yoga class and felt a sudden sharp, searing pain all down my right butt/hip/leg. Initially there was more sharp pain than numbness, and sitting/driving was nearly impossible, but then the numbness set in and I could barely walk down the street. I went to the Doctor, they did an X-ray and prescribed me a Medrol dose pack, which did very little to help. Then I went in for an MRI which showed an 8mm bulged disc along L5/S1. The doctor IMMEDIATELY pushed for an epidural and I went in the next day for 7 cortisone injections, which was painful and did a little to help some of the pain but I still have all of the numbness and tingling while sitting.
The Dr seemed very concerned about my loss of strength in the right leg/foot and wanted to do a Discectomy ASAP. I honestly was shocked when he said the word "surgery" - I had no idea my injury was so bad.
I'm studying for the Bar exam which is July 24-26 (which involves SITTING for 3 hours 2x/day for 3 days in a row) and was very concerned about being in MORE pain than I already am. At least now I can manage the all-day studying by switching positions, propping myself up with a cushion, and ice. From what I read on here, once you start with surgery it's another slippery slope of additional pain and it takes many weeks to even begin to recover. My Dr had all these claims that I'll be "totally fine" for the bar exam, and that I'll be able to study and focus during this next month while recovering but everything I've read seems to suggest otherwise. So, I decided to put the procedure off and feel relieved that I at least know what my next month will be like and am not entering into the unknown of post-op.
I went in for my first round of Spinal Decompression Therapy today, thinking that if I'm putting surgery off I might as well try an alternative and see if that helps. I've tried looking through the forum for information about Spinal Decompression Therapy but it seems like there's not much out there. Does anybody have experience with this?
Also generally, I'm wondering - how long do people seek out alternatives before deciding to go through with the Discectomy? I believe my Dr when he says he is concerned about my loss of strength and potential nerve damage, but at the same time I feel like Chiropractors/people who go to Chiropractors tend to say that alternative measures CAN help and that rushing into surgery is a mistake. Have any of you had experience navigating the two worlds of "traditional" medicine/surgery and alternative therapy? How long do you "wait" and do you, if ever, end up getting the surgery?
I'd love to hear anybody's advice/experience about this. I feel really overwhelmed by conflicting information and want to make sure that I'm making the right choice. Thanks in advance.