I figured I would come here to share my story to see if I could get some real input from anyone else who reads this who may be, or have been, experiencing what I am now. I feel that sometimes doctors and others we go to don't fully understand what it's like but maybe someone out there who reads this can relate and know that there are others who feel your pain (Literally and metaphorically speaking). Anyway i'll get to the point.
I am 20 years old and have been suffering from sciatica caused by two bulging discs in my lower back for almost a year now. I have lived an extremely active life up to this point until the summer of 2014 when I came home from a round of golf and felt a horrible pain down my right leg. The pain kept getting worse the longer I tried to rest it and take ibuprofen. I was convinced it was a simple pinched nerve or a misalignment. The pain surfaced at a time when I had no health insurance, and the combination of my "rub some dirt on it" attitude, and no affordable health care at my disposal I tried to get through it myself. Sitting down for any duration of time would cause excruciating pain. My next semester of school started and I could not make it through a 50 minute class without wanting to cry.
I realized that I had a serious problem that I needed help dealing with when I realized all my grades were slipping and I was in constant pain that completely restricted me from any activity outside of limping. I broke down in tears sobbing in the college library in a study room. This isn't something easy for a 20 year old guy who has dealt with a fair share of previous injuries to admit. This was the only one that made me feel completely helpless.
I found a place to get a cheap MRI after that day. The MRI revealed the two battered bulging discs in my lower back that clearly have some wear and tear from my baseball, football and basketball days. The doctor prescribed me some tramadol and suggested an epidural injection or surgery. I had a severe allergic reaction to the tramadol and was floored for two straight days projectile vomiting and dizzy.
I still saw light at the end of the tunnel after hearing about how effective epidural injections are for people with this. I scheduled my first epidural at this time and was begging it would help subside my back pain. I received the injection and after the first couple days of the anesthetic wearing off my sciatica and back pain returned. Ever since then I have fallen into depression. I spent my entire life always active, lifting weights, playing sports, hiking, or really anything competitive. The last year I have not been able to stand the pain of anything past walking.
I don't know how to handle the depression, are there doctors or specialists who can help with the mental aspect of dealing with this?. My depression as well as physical pain and disability has affected my physique as well. Leading up to the surfacing of my sciatic pain I had a great appetite and metabolism, I worked out 3 times a week and weighed about 150 pounds. (slim but healthy nonetheless). Since my back has gone bad I have lost a substantial amount of weight and muscle mass. I am down to 125 pounds and have lost my appetite. I have severe morning depression because that is when my pain seems to be the worst. My schoolwork has declined and I don't know how to cope with this.
I am trying to avoid prescription pain medication and surgery as much as possible but at this point I am considering something because I can't continue much longer like this. I never imagined being in this state at 20 years old.
If you have any suggestions or experiences you could share I would really appreciate it, I am stuck in a bad situation and don't have much support or resources and I appreciate any information that could be helpful.