So I found this site while doing the dreaded "self-research" of my symptoms and situation. Figured it won't hurt to post and hopefully gain advice and insight as things go forward. I like that this site seems very mature and supportive, here's hoping everyone can find relief.
I'm a 31 year old male, living in Korea as a foreign teacher. I am active, healthy weight and shape thanks to lots of muay thai and jiu jitsu (for MMA, for leisure, not competitive). I was recently diagnosed with a herniated disc in my L4 - L5, caused by bending into a laundry machine to pull out bed linen that had gotten sucked underneath the drum. Stupid way to get hurt, but there you have it.
I am currently on my 4th week of pain in my buttocks, legs, groin and small of my back. I visited one doctor who spoke little English (wasn't too helpful), who gave me anti-inflammatory meds and painkillers. Pain went away but after the medication ran out it came back. The doctor was dismissive after that, telling me to take a second dose and come back if the pain was too severe.
Unhappy with this, today I sought out an English speaking doctor who lives far away (1 hour commute). This doctor was far more helpful.
However, flip of the coin is that he had the opportunity to be, and was, very honest, saying that because I was suddenly getting pain flares after bowel movements, it was a bad sign that my herniation was pinching my nerves. He prescribed me similar medication as before and physical therapy every 2 days. If symptoms do not improve in 2 weeks, he said he will be sending me for an MRI.
So, that's the whole story to date. I don't mind admitting I'm very anxious about the prospect of what will happen next. Will I need surgery, what will happen, can I get it done here in Korea etc. I barely sleep because of a combination of worry and pain, to the point even my co-workers are commenting on my tired appearance.
My big fear is having to get surgery as I was always told that any spinal surgery is dangerous and unwise. But, given the new doctor's frank assessment, this seems highly possible. It's come to the point that even farting elicits pain flares, while the rest of the time there's a dull ache somewhere in my lower body. In fairness, since it first happened, the pain is less then it was, but the doctor's assessment leaves me increasingly worried.
So, if anyone any input, it's all welcome and appreciated. Hope we can all get better soon.