I am posting this because if you are like me, you are searching this site because you are scared and in horrible pain. I want to post my quick tale in hopes of giving someone else hope.
I have had lower back pain all my life. I'm tall and young (35) but remember my back 'going out' since I was 20. However it always got better. That was until May 2015 when I was lifting a suitcase and thought I had been struck by lighting. Fast forward three weeks to my first MRI which reveals two smaller herniation at L3/4 and L4/5 and one major 2 cm central herniation extrusion at l5/s1. Water works begin!!! I spent three months crying as everyday as the pain seemed to get worse and worse. Some nights I couldn't sleep and if I did I woke up screaming that someone was stabbing me in my butt. I had three epidurals over three months, did PT, saw a posture therapist, you name it. I work full time (ata desk) and couldn't wait to get home to lie on the floor and cry. The back pain got worse throughout the day and my foot would go numb. I thought 'this is it- I will have to have surgery'. I met with 7 doctors (4 neurosurgeons and 3 orthopedic surgeons- slightly crazy but I was crazy!). Six months in, the surgeons agreed I likely needed surgery as two MRI's now revealed the herniations were not getting smaller on their own. So I scheduled surgery for January 2016 as I wanted to enjoy the holidays for a month. family starting arriving and I found that I was too busy to do PT or the daily 3-5 mile walks I had been doing every day and you know what, I felt a bit better. Then I went for my third MRI, the one you have to have prior to microdiscetomy surgery. And who would believe it? The 2cm herniation is now 1 cm. the darn thing shrank down 50%!!!now don't get me wrong- I'm not out of the woods. My neurosurgeon tells me I can't do much still and I should baby my back but I can do that for another few months if it means I can avoid surgery. My back still aches at the end of every day and sometimes my foot is on the bottom but I am better than I was on day one and that's what I try to focus on. I take allege when it hurts, sometimes use lorazepam to sleep and bought a standing desk for work which was the single best investment I have made yet. So my opinion (and it's only that) to anyone is if you can stand pain, try to for awhile. The body does want to heal itself and docs agree a bad herniation can take 1-2 years to heal. I was in the best shape of my life when this happened and maybe all that exercise did it to me. Who knows. And yes, some of the pain is likely just in my head. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the minute he doc told me the good news at the beginning of jan 2016, I felt like a bit of pain forever left. Any way good luck to you all. I know how scary this is. Try to focus on what mobility you have rather than the pain. That was a lesson that took me 8 months to learn!