Can anyone give thoughts about how to decide to do back surgery? I've had low back pain now and again over 8 years. Last year an episode lasted 3 months. PT helped and I was back to normal, running, walking, lifting a little. In January I overdid it walking hills and x-country skiing, and had low back pain again for 3 months.
Starting in March, I had sciatica for the first time. It was sporadic,and I could still walk 3 miles (on flat) every day. Since early May, the sciatica has gotten progressively worse. I did PT for a month, and it just got worse. MRI July 3 showed L4-L5 "significant bulge" and also L-5 S-1 slight bulge. ESI on July 17 verified that the L5 nerve (going all the way to the toes) is affected, but didn't improve my symptoms. I went to NS yesterday and he also pointed out stenosis at L4-L5 and is recommending laminotomy and discectomy.
I am terrified of surgery (my mom had 9 back surgeries in the 70s that left her an invalid), but I also can't function since I can't stand or walk at all, and can only sit for brief periods.
Thank you for any comments.