I have spent a lot of time searching for the answer to this question but I have not found any source really address this.
I have had sciatic pain in my left leg for almost a year now due a herniated L5/S1. I am scheduled for a microdiscectomy next week. When we scheduled the surgery like a month ago my doctor warned me that the longer one waits to get the surgery, the "less effective" the surgery can be. I've also found numerous sources online saying that results for the surgery are "not quite as favorable" the longer the condition has gone on.
But what I can't figure out is, what does "less effective" or "not quite as favorable" really mean? Does it mean over time the surgery won't help resolve the pain as quickly as it would had I gotten it earlier? Or does it mean I could soon be at a point where the surgery will NEVER help and I'll be cursed with sciatic pain forever? I guess I could already be at that point now, a year after symptoms began.
It's a really important question to me because my pain has improved in just the past three weeks or so by doing McKenzie exercises and using a lumbar roll. It hasn't 100% improved, but maybe 75%. So now I am wondering if it's still worth doing the surgery. What's stopping me from canceling it though, is the fear that if I later find that my improvement stalls or if the pain goes back to much worse, by that point I will have waited too long and then there's NOTHING I can do because the surgery won't work. It just makes me so depressed to even think about that possibility. So I am basically thinking of doing the surgery as an insurance option, but maybe I am exaggerating what "not quite as favorable" really means. I just can't find a straight answer to this question.
Thanks so much for reading this.