I just joined this forum and would love to get some advice/insight from the group. I am a 39 year old fit female with a history of chronic back pain. About 5 years ago I had a severe lower back muscle strain after a Cross Fit class and took over 4 months to recuperate. I returned to exercise, only to have a repeat episode about a year later. Since then I have modified my exercise routine to only do cycle classes, Pilates, Piloxing (Pilates/Boxing - low impact (no kicks)), tons of Hot yoga, walking, etc. but every 2-3 months I would "throw out" my back - where I would have a minor strain, which would cause a few weeks of pain and awkward posture/gait, but then resolve and I would return to exercise.
Six weeks ago, I had one of these episodes, but about a week after my muscle strain I was in agony with horrible unbearable left leg pain and numbness in my left foot. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't sit - it was unreal how much pain I was in. I went to a spine MD who ordered an MRI, and found that I had a very large herniated/ruptured disc at L4-L5. He prescribed Percocet, a 5 day steroid pack, and then I had an epidural steroid injection on June 16th which did provide a little bit of relief but changed my pain from not being able to sit to not being able to stand or walk for more than 1-2 minutes without pain and having to immediately sit down. Because I was still in a good bit of pain and I had not benefited from other treatments, my doctor scheduled surgery and i was supposed to have it last week. However, after 5 weeks after my leg pain started, 2 1/2 weeks after my steroid injection, the pain disappeared as quickly as it came. I am still "sore" in my hip and calf where it is extremely tender to the touch and do occasionally get a sudden twinge of nerve pain, but - I still have tingliness in my leg and foot, I can't feel my big toe, and I have foot weakness where I can barely lift up my left foot if I stand on my heels. My doctor cancelled the surgery because the pain was gone and scheduled a follow-up in 2 weeks to gauge/monitor the numbness and weakness. However, I just got a 2nd opinion from a renowned/respected neurosurgeon in Charlotte who reviewed my MRI in detail, tested the strength of my foot, and said that my ruptured disc was "massive", and it was likely my pain has gone and my weakness remains because my nerve is dying, and recommended that if my goal is to return to 100% and continue with my very active/fitness lifestyle without any residual weakness or numbness, my best chance would be to move forward with the surgery and to do it sooner rather than later.
It seems like my spine DR as a more "wait and see" approach so I'm torn, and because I'm not in a lot of pain and can still get around, going under the knife is difficult to imagine for me because I'm so much more functional than before. However, the thought of having foot weakness and tingliness in my foot/leg for the rest of my life is quite unnerving, and now that I am at the 6 week mark I don't want to delay if permanent damage is on the horizon.
Any thoughts from the group?
Nobody on the forum is medically qualified or permitted to give advice any responses will be based on members personal experiences only