29 years old.
Roughly 6 months ago I “threw out” my lower back folding laundry. Embarrassing, I know, but at least you know I’m being honest : ) I made the poor decision to force a round of golf 3 days later and the day afterwards it went out again. Then, about 10 days later after having improved a bit, I threw it out for a third time in the shower worse than you could imagine. I was rendered completely immobile and laid on the shower floor for about 10-15 minutes before fighting through the pain to get up. The pain was that sharp “zapping” pain you feel in your lower disc, clearly impingement of the nerve column of some sort. My back was in completed spasm. I managed to get myself to the dr and was prescribed a Medrol dose pack. If at the time of the injury I was at 5%, I had improved to roughly 60% by the time the dose pack was completed. The 60 days that followed, with considerable stretching, icing and anti-infalm intake, I had improved to roughly 80-85%. It was at 80-85% where I plateaued and remain to this day (3-4 months later). Dull lower back pain is consistent, never down the leg. Pain feels fine when I’m upright and moving but gets progressively worse the longer I sit. Lifting things, playing golf and other similar activities are out of the question.
2 weeks ago I finally forced the Dr. to prescribe an MRI which showed “mild budges” in the L3/L4 and L4/L5 and a “small midline annular tear” in the L4/L5. It also showed “mild disc degeneration” in the L3/L4 and L4/L5. Keep in mind that the MRI was performed 6 months after the original episode so I’m uncertain if this has always been the extent of the damage or if what was once a herniation and larger tear has improved to this point. The doctor told me that it wasn’t uncommon for males in the late 20’s, even those feeling healthy, to show similar results on an MRI. This sounded all well and good but didn’t help the fact that I lived every day with consistent, dull lower back pain and wasn’t able to do the active things I enjoyed doing. He prescribed physical therapy which I’ve been doing for 2 weeks with little, if any, improvement.
My passion is golf and I judge my recovery entirely on my ability to get back on the course. I guess what I’m looking for is reassurance of some sort. Has anyone experienced similar pain 6 months after the fact and fully recovered without the need for surgery? 4 months seems like a long time to have plateau’d and clearly has taken a toll on my optimism. What helped you the most? My fear is that I will be at 80-85% forever and never be able to do the things I love again.