First post here. I have an awful dilemma. I underwent a microdiscetomy 11 months ago to repair a herniated L5/S1disc and my recovery went fantastic. I went back to work in my job as a Paramedic in the Ambulance Service after my recovery was finished and had 8 months of being completely pain free until the second week of December 2014 when I then started developed widespread Lumbar pain once again. I thought little of it and presumed I may have strained some muscles. The pain grew stronger over the space of 3 days until the point it became sore to walk in my heavy work boots which then led to me taking off work sick and have been on sick leave until now.
For the first two weeks, I was still confident that it was just strained muscles as the pain was widespread over the Lumber area of my back as opposed to being central over the spine. After two weeks, I started to experience mild intermittent numbness and sciatica down the back of my right leg with no symptoms down my left leg. This then dissipated and the widespread Lumber pain turned into focal pain over the site of my previous surgery only. I was also experiencing a lot of what I call "weakness", meaning any forward bending or leaning over was causing a pain sensation that I would describe as "my back giving out", or basically not being able to support the weight of my bent over torso. I then went for a MRI scan and made an app with my consultant. He reviewed the scan and said it was consistent with what he would expect to see post discectomy surgery with the exception with a slightly enlarged nerve route (not sure which nerve) and advised physio and rest to repair the strain. He did mention that if I was to deteriorate any further, that he would like to do a spinal fusion and had mentioned before my discetomy last year that this was his preferred choice but avoided it in favor of the disctemy as I would be unable to continue in my line of work if I had a fusion done, as the heavy lifting would put too much pressure of the bone graft included in the procedure of the fusion on the long term.
I spent the following two weeks after this, I tried to repair myself with said advice from my surgeon but it has only gotten worse, particularly so over the last five days. Today was the first day that I woke up that i felt a large period of the back of my left leg was numb and had loss of sensation. Bare in mind this is the opposite leg as to where I had the intermittent numbness two weeks ago. Admittedly I had been a bit too confident in my recovery over the last two weeks and pushed myself a little to hard (in my own opinion) by cycling in the gym and doing core strengthening exercises.
My lumber spine is now soo tender over the last few days that any movement what so ever is causing a feeling of extreme weakness / pain in my lower back. I`m also very concerned with this return of numbness down my left leg as it obviously means a nerve route is impinged again.
The main reason for the post here is I feel I may be getting near the point of having to opt to have a fusion done and I am concerned as it it obviously a much bigger operation than the discetemy surgery. I am looking for to hear from people who have had a lumber fusion done and how their recovery went?? Also, if they needed a bone graft taken from another part of their body or if a cadaver bone was used. How long did your recovery take?? I have been told it can take anything from six months to a year for the graft to take and become active again?? Also, one of my biggest concerns is, I have been told that you can loose up to 20% of the rotation of the trunk of your body due to the screw fixtures.
I am in no way concerned about having to change my line of career if necessary and this has no bearing on my decision on whether to get a fusion done or not. Health before wealth is how I feel.
I would be glad to hear from others and thank you for taking the time to read the post....if you have.