Thank you for reading through this firstly. As a newbie, I apologize in advance if i'm missed any of the rules of the forum. I'm gonna shoot straight to the big question - do i need surgery - specifically microdiscectomy (doctors have advised against nucleoplasty as the bulge/protrusion is large and it wont help)?
I have had a slip disc for the last 4 years and the days i exert myself there is shooting pain down my leg. The days i completely rest (bed rest), i could play extreme sports (not that i've tried). I havent been to the gym or played a sport in the fear that things might get worse. Most doctors after looking at my mri have said the disc is out but its not that big a problem, lets try conservative methods. I've tried every possible thing, yoga, physio, accupuncture, chiro etc. I havent been very regular to be honest but i have tried giving each a shot for atleast a month or more. I have finally mentally made up my mind to go for surgery but a lot of people who have had surgery have told me this should be a last resort. Now, i'm not in major pain that i need surgery but my lifestyle is such that we go out alot and my dearest wife has to suffer more than me due to this (we have traveled to over 50 new cities in the last 4 years, we both love traveling and taking holidays and i have the luxury to do so).
Here begins my list of questions, anyone with prior similar experience who can comment on any of them, would be much much appreciated:
1. the pain in the leg will go away 100% and the pain in the back will be reduced tremendously (90-100% less pain than existing) with microdiscectomy?
2. Best case scenario with microdiscectomy - i can go back to play extreme sports, diving etc and may not require any exercises etc to keep the back in correct posture or for relapse.
Worst case scenario there will be 90% less back pain than what i am at right now and i will need to keep strengthening the back? Am i correct?
3. I have been very lazy with exercises and knowing my lifestyle I doubt I will ever get to regular exercises - I just want to make sure post surgery things will not deteriorate because of that.
4. Will the degenerative disc get worse, better or stay same with surgery?
5. someone recommended i take an epidural and try strengthening my back (going to the gym daily for 2 hours) first before going to surgery. if the epi doesnt work then surgery would be the best option - do you agree?
6. If yes to above, currently i am generally in pain (3 or 4 on 10 amount of pain) which reduces my initiative and also doesnt allow me to push for more. not sure if not surgery what else can be done to strengthen the back in this pain.
7. I am generally lazy about exercises - will post care be an issue if this is taken lightly? I have heard the chances of a relapse are high if i dont strengthen the back?
8. if yes to above, is it better to leave it untreated and the chance of a relapse reduces (considering the back is natural and no surgery is done) or is the probability of a relapse the same with or without surgery?
9. I have always had a tight hamstring since high school - i used to play a lot of sports and my instructors always told me about it. even now i have very strong calfs but my hamstrings are very tight - will surgery loosen them? will i need to anyway fix this issue with or without surgery?
10. is there any breakthrough in technology that will specifically help someone as such in my case? Looking for an alternate to microdiscectomy that may be worth considering?
As i mentioned above, any help/feedback/suggestion from someone whose been through something similar will be much appreciated. Age: 30. No kids yet. Weight 150 pounds (not overweight yet). Work - business owner but a technology firm (which means im behind a desk atleast 10 hours a day).