A bit about me: I'm a (m) 24 years old recent Dentistry School graduate and I'm really glad I found this forum.
My Pain History:
-Ever since I was a kid I had a difficulty being flexible or crossing my legs soundly even though I was very athletic and acrobatic (as my mother used to say)
-When I was in highschool I fell from a high platform landing flat on my feet, this initially triggered a shooting pain all through my leg (can't remember which one) which relieved itself within a couple of days.
-Throughout my life, I had never been overweight, my BMI usually borderlines normal.
-Shortly after I turned 23, I decided to shape up and join a gym, aiming for a healthier and even more fit lifestyle. During the first few gym sessions, I have carried out some lifting procedures that really focused on my lower back (Squats & Deadlifts). This let to a bout of pain after waking up the next day, which took me 2-3mins to stand up or sit down. After taking Arcoxia referred by my doctor, the pain disappeared within 30mins.
-Ever since, the pain that I had, was infrequent, occurring only during the morning when I stand up and disappears within hours.
-I have since then kept going to the gym religiously, however staying away from anything that could affect my lower back. Month after month, the pain just kept increasing, and the medication wasn't as effective.
-However, the scale was about (1-2) and it completely disappears whenever I'm at the gym.
The Health Perspective:
-I've started visiting an Orthopedic Surgeon and a Physiatrist 3 months ago to relieve the disc pain. I took an MRI revealing 3 bulging discs and a slightly malpositioned vertebra. To my "comfort", only ONE of the discs was of actual concern. The orthopedic surgeon prescribed Arcoxia once more, and the pain kept increasing anyways.
-I decided that I needed a better approach to handling this situation. The doctor then recommended a lumbar Cortisone injection assuring me that I should feel better 2-3 days after administration. I took the injection. Immediately after the injection, I started feeling discomfort and nausea (I know this might be within normal limits). However, within the next week the pain was UNBEARABLE. I had shooting pain from my left thigh all the way down to my left toes (only confined to the backside). This happened whenever I stood up or sat down. Moreover, whenever I was standing or sitting, the pain would persist as a throbbing pain. The scale went from a 1-2 to 8-9 pain level.
-The doctor had me on medications such as Arcoxia, Lyrica, Tamadol, and Cataflam. All of which did nothing to relieve the pain. He also mentioned that I should use heatpacks on the site. PT should be also avoided during the time I had pain.
-I kept visiting my doctor every week mentioning to him that the pain keeps increasing and limiting my daily activities. For most of the day (seeing that I just graduated and still don't work) I used to sit down on the PC for 15-30mins before I had to lie down flat on a sofa to relieve the pain for twice the duration.
-My doctor referred me for another MRI to see if there are new findings since the previous one and listed my choices. (This is a month after I had the cortisone injection)
My choices: (Bear with me, the namings might not be as accurate) [going from most conservative to most invasive]
1. Wait and see if there will be any relief: not the best option for me seeing that I want to work soon and this limiting pain won't allow me to follow my dream of working as a Dentist where I'd have to sit for long hours with my back possibly in an awkward position (even though I practice ergonomics as much as I can!).
2. Increase medication: At one point I was taking 5 medications without them yielding any positive results. I ran out of medications a couple of days ago and have since experience more pain (9). Besides, I want a solution since I worried about permanent nerve damage.
3. ANOTHER CORTISONE INJECTION: I contemplated that idea so many times, my first experience was what got me in this state. The doctor didn't mention a risk of increased pain. I wonder if that would increase my pain even further. I have received multiple responses for cortisone injections, the majority denouncing them.
4. Hydrostatic Discectomy: a minimally invasive approach where a thick needle is placed lateral to the spinal cord up to the disc's center and absorbs some of the fluid withing the disc, ultimately leading to shrinkage of the disc, relieving the nerve
5. Partial Discectomy: I have read a lot about this procedure and its risks of recurrence and success rates.
6. Fusion: Ultimately the removal of a disc and the fusion of the vertebrae would solve both my (very mild) back problems and (severe) sciatica, however, the downfall is that pressure may be induced on the adjacent vertebrae, possibly causing a future herniation within another one.
- What my Orthopedic Surgeon concluded in the end is that I have a back of a 50 year old and any treatment we will carry out won't solve the problem 100%, but instead prolong the need for invasive surgery as much as possible seeing that I am "young" and surgeries are not recommended for young adults as often.
- I desperately want a solution that would cater to my needs, seeing that I want to work soon and carry out my life.
- I do not worry about surgery being an option, I'm very open for that choice.
- Recently I've been depressed more than ever, seeing that I ditched my physically active lifestyle to a more sedentary and dull one. Being limited to actions as simple as sitting or standing, and laying idle for long periods of time around the house, seeing that this was my only form of relief (and even that is starting to be painful)
- Choices #1 and #2 are out of the questions seeing that they would take forever and possibly pointless.
- Choices #3, 4, and 5 sound more appealing.
What I optimistically hope for:
- A solution that would relieve my pain as soon and as effective as possible (before the chance of manifesting as permanent nerve damage)
- Reassuring feedback with regards to resuming normal activities post post-treatment.
Once again, feedback, similar stories, words of encouragement are always appreciated seeing that I'm currently in the saddest state I've ever been and desperately looking for a way to fight this.