G'day to you all
I am a 40 year old male, 90 Kgs and 6 months ago diagnosed with a centrally protruding disc segment resulting in moderate canal narrowing with effacement of the subarticular recesses and impression bilateral descending L5 nerve roots at L4-L5. I also have a shallow posterior disc bulge with a superimposed central and right paracentral protruding disc segment at L5-S1.
Since this time my symptoms have progressively worsened. I first noticed the feeling of warmth running down the lower part of my left leg. This warmth got hotter and became more of a dull numbing pain with pins and needles in my feet. This pain and tingling is now present in both legs/feet and I have developed moderate cramp type pains in various parts of my legs, but particlarly behind my knees and in my hamstrings. I get random shooting pains in various parts of my legs and recently have experienced mild and quick buckling of the left knee, this seems to correct itself immediately and has not resulted in a fall or major loss of balance. I do get back pain in the lower lumber region which extends out towards the hips, but the back pain accounts for about 25% of my pain and discomfort with referred pain the main problem.
I have also had some waterworks problems with urine retention, slow stream and mild leakage post urination, for which I was sent for a cystoscopy to rule out other causes, but that was all clear.
I have seen a Neurosurgeon twice, the second time following a lumbar MRI scan which highlighted the issues at L4-L5 and L5-S1. He referred me for a Epidural injection into L4-L5 and Physio, telling me to lose 20 Kg's (I put on 10 Kgs in the 4 months leading up this appointment) and get fit (Hard when you can only swim and walk). I had the Epidural and started light cardio exercise (walking) and core strength exercises, although the Epidural only gave me 60% less pain/discomfort. Prior to the Epidural I could not exercise without suffering the following day. 10 days after the Epidural, it effects wore off and again I was no longer able to exercise without pain.
Workwise, I am a cop, and have been made light duties only, as I am unable to wear my belt or sit in a vehicle for extended periods of time, but I am finding that sitting at a computer for a 10 hour shift is becoming increasingly painful, but I have no other option.
My pain and discomfort is now at its highest level and I am due to see the Neurosurgeon again in 4 days time. I am increasingly frustrated at my lack of progress and the effect this is having on my work and home life. I am an active person, used to surf 1-3 times a week, run and caddy at golf for my son.
For the pain I take Tramadol, having tried Lyrica and not getting on well with the Moody side effects. Having a high pain threshold, I tend to underuse pain killers and just put up with it but this is becoming more and more difficult.
My Neurosurgeon seems hellbent on maintaining the conservative management route, yet I don't feel it is working and I am finding it hard to maintain the motivation to do the exercises owing to the pain. Through Diet, alone I have lost 4 Kgs, but my patience is wearing thin with the rabbit food.
I would like to try a Micro-discetomy, but he say's he cant be sure my pain is from the L4-L5 region, yet the MRI clearly shows the herniation impinging on the spinal cord at L4-L5!
I am thinking about a second opinion, dependant on Tuesdays meeting, but am generally feeling pretty dispondant about it all the moment.