Hello - I was in a head-on car accident 1 month ago with a DUI driver. Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt, or so I thought. A few days post accident I had difficulty getting out of bed due to significant inflammation of the lower back. I consulted with an orthopedic, x-rays were taken, and the consensus was that I was likely suffering from a slipped disc. I was prescribed several meds (analgesics, anti-inflammatories) along with physical therapy. After about two weeks without much relief or change in my condition, I awoke with severe shooting pain down my left leg with hyper spasms in my calf muscle. The doc sent me for an MRI revealing a fairly large extrusion at my L5 S1 and protrusion at my L4. He recommended an epidural and it was administered the next day. I did experience some relief, as the shooting pain subsided. However, I have rather severe numbness down the back of my left calf and foot - can't feel a pin prick - and my muscle is fatigued to the point of not being able to walk without shuffling my left leg. I cannot stand on my left toes, but still able to do so on my heel. I can also still rotate my left ankle and move up and down, but it feels as though the weakness is progressing. The pain, on the otherhand, has been reduced to a dull, sore area centralized at the lower back. I've now visited with two orthopedic surgeons, both suggested microdisectomy to remove the nucleus material pressing on the nerves. I'm very reluctant to proceed with this surgery, but the seemingly progressive nature of my leg numbness/weakness does concern me. I am in my mid forties, and (pre-accident) I am very active (water sports, biking, playing with my kids). I've combed through many posts on this forum - and it seems there is a wide variety of opinion re: surgery. My question to the group is - given the progressive numbness / weakness in my left leg am I a prime candidate for surgery? Or should I continue with therapy, light exercise and meds to try to rehabilitate in hopes that the numbness/weakness will subside? The anecdotal advice seems to weigh heavily in favor of the latter. However, I can't help but wonder if the neurological damage will become permanent if I don't undergo surgery. Additionally, my work and personal life is hindered quite a bit - and I don't have the luxury of being sidelined for 6-8+ months to see if my situation improves. I'm getting pressure from my wife to push for surgery - as she wants me back on my feet 100%. But I'm just not certain that is the best route.
Your collective thoughts / feedback are greatly appreciated.