I am having a really hard time deciding whether or not to have a L5/S1 microdiscectomy next week. I appreciate your feedback.
I am a 44 year old active, fit guy from Tampa, FL. After years of weightlifting I had some sciatica pain back in November of 2014. It was very severe pain for about a week. Sitting was the worst. Not too bad when standing.
The pain subsided after about a week and I rarely have any pain if I take ibuprofen. If I don't take it I have some sciatica in my left leg.
After seeing my Primary Provider and having an MRI (12/31/14) I visited two Neurosurgeons recently who both recommended a discectomy because the herniation was so large (14mm) and I have some left calf and hamstring weakness. I was limping at first (back in November) but my leg strength seems to be improving very, very slowly with time. My left leg is still significantly weaker than my right. It is about 70% weaker than my right leg. I am unable to do a calf raise while standing only on my left leg, although I can almost do one if that makes sense. I can get abbout 1/2 way up now on my left foot and a couple weeks ago I could not even do that. I can do quite a few calf raises if standing on my right leg.
I am scheduled for a microdiscectomy on 2/19/15. The two Neurosurgeons suggested surgery as soon as possible to possibly avoid permanent nerve damage and to hopefully regain the muscle strength in my left leg.
Any suggestions? Should I try physical therapy first to see if I get all of my strength back. I have been doing stretching and light resistance exercises at my gym for my legs and lower back. Should I get a third opionion? Should I postpone the surgery to see if leg strength continues to get better?
I am on the fence with this decision because I really don't have any pain and my strength does seem to be coming back in my left leg even though it is very, very slowly.