After six weeks of increasingly unbearable leg pain, I had my first epidural injection four days ago. The pain was somewhat muted by the injection but I'm still having radiculopathy in my left leg. The pain radiates down my butt, my hamstring and into my foot. I've also had numbness and tingling in that leg, as well. The doctor said it could take up to seven days for the medicine to take full effect, so I have been hopeful that I would continue to improve, at least to the point where I could walk. Today, I woke up with severe numbness in the left leg and pain that seems to radiate from the middle of my left glute. I can't stand or walk or sit for more than 30 seconds without being overwhelmed by discomfort. I'm mostly ok if I lie on my stomach.
If things remain unchanged, I will likely call the doctor tomorrow. I don't know how I can go to work like this. My concern is that the herniations have worsened, or I've developed piriformis syndrome. I herniated two discs in June, L4-L5 and L5-S1. The herniations compress the thecal sac on the left side. I didn't have radiculopathy until late September, after I did some rock climbing. Yes, it was a stupid thing to do with herniated discs but I didn't have any pain before I did it. I wonder about piriformis syndrome because I had herniations with no radiculopathy for months. Then, after straining my back during rock climbing, the leg pain started. I remember a single moment when I extended my left leg to the side and at a 45 degree angle. Then I put my weight on it while climbing up the rock face. As soon as I did it, I thought "that didn't feel right." And it's been downhill ever since then.
I don't know why I'm posting this; I don't really have any questions. I've been a lurker on this site since June and have taken comfort in some of the posts I've read as I've navigated this strange journey. I'm just feeling so hopeless today. Yesterday, I was ready to tackle this thing, do acupuncture if the injection didn't work, start swimming if I can't walk, etc. Today, I'm wondering if there will ever be a way out of this horrible back/leg pain and uncertainty. I feel like I'm regressing. I haven't been able to stand upright all day. I think I could cope if the ibuprofen or Tramadol actually addressed the pain but they don't. I load up on ibuprofen just so I can move around.
The pain doctor prescribed Gabepentin but I've been too afraid to start it. I'm worried about the side effects, especially the risk of depression. I'm also worried that, if I start it, I will become dependent on it and have rebound pain if I stop it. Does that make sense?
The main issue is that I've been so miserable for the past few weeks. I've been unable to walk without a limp, let alone exercise in any way. The only thing I can do comfortably is lie on my stomach and occasionally my back.
I feel like I'm reaching my wit's end. I know it's selfish to think this, but I'm only 45. I feel like I'm too young for this. Well, thanks for letting me vent. I know some of you can probably relate to what I've written here.