I am a 21 year old girl who was diagnosed with a posterior-lateral herniated L5S1 disc in early 2013 by MRI, affecting my right side. It was not caused by trauma, and so far the doctor/surgeons that I have seen said it is just something that happened on its own over time. I was fairly active pre-injury, visiting the gym frequenty and at a healthy body weight.
To make a long story short, my symptoms went into remission through rest and then exercise over the summer, with pain at a 0-1/10 most days and a 3 at its worst. In late August, my right hamstring started to feel tight, but I figured it was just from not working out for a couple of weeks. Up until that point, my back pain had never traveled further than mid-gluteal muscle area. I kind of brushed it off and continued to work my desk job full time and was able to perform daily activities without limitations. Prolonged sitting was uncomfortable, but only mildly. In late September, the leg tightness got very bad (it felt as though my hamstring was going to snap) so in early October when things gotten terribly acute, I decided to revisit the doctor. I saw an Orthopedic DO, who recommended a Prednisone pack (which I did with nominal relief), and an epidural. At that time, I also sought out medical help from an Orthopedic spinal surgeon in my area in mid-October. He ordered a second MRI, which revealed that it had worsened slightly (he has been so vague about things). He recommended an epidural (which I did with a little bit of relief), and PT (I got stronger but my range of motion barely changed in 2 months).
Now, on week 10 of this experience, I am considering a microdiscectomy. I have numbness and tingling in down my right leg, into my foot. I cannot tolerate sitting for more than about fifteen-thirty minutes. I cannot perform a straight leg raise more than about six inches off the ground. While I am still able to function, I cannot perform most tasks without pain. I saw the surgeon for a follow-up on Monday and he said that if it weren't for my anxiety, he would move forward with surgery now. I am open to it but I am really trying to plan ahead for the remainder of my life and not just do a 'quick fix'. I am fearful of re-hernation, especially since I want to be a mom someday and I don't want to aggravate it with pregnancy, etc. I feel like I have to be my own advocate here because the surgeon is spoon-feeding me his diagnosis and 'care plan' without educating me at all. Fortunately, I have a few years of nursing school under my belt so I know the basic mechanics of it all and have been trying to research on my own. It's just getting exhausting, as I am now no longer working and I am trying to move on with my life. Any advice/tips/feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!