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Hi everyone, looking for some advice.
I'm a 25 year old male who was originally diagnosed with a mild herniation at L5/S1 back in 2014. It was caused when lifting a Christmas Tree at work. My doctor recommended finishing my degree and quit manual labor and I should be okay.
Fast forward to February 2017, where I was working from home using my computer. I was pretty good about standing through most of the work day, and was working out 3x a week (racquetball, general cardio). I started to feel the typical sciatic pain tract down from my lower back, through my left buttock, and all the way down to my toes in my left foot. I sought medical attention, and a laminotomy at the L5/S1 level was recommended. After seeing a chiropractor, acupuncture, dry-needling, inversion therapy, 3 rounds of ESI, 3 months of PT, the whole 9 yards - I had my first surgery in October of 2017, and the pain in my leg that had been causing me near immobility for 8 months was finally gone.
I unfortunately caught a cold after a month of recovery. I had already returned to work. An intense coughing bout caused an acute pain that was worse than before the surgery, radiating from the incision to my left toes. Upon MRI investigation, the disc had re-herniated, and it was about 3x larger than before the surgery.
My doctor told me he wanted me to try some PT and get an ESI, and suggested the same surgery if those therapies didn't work. I sought a second opinion, and this new doctor explained that if the PT/ESI didn't work before, I should go back into surgery ASAP. He also agreed that he would do another laminotomy, the same as the initial surgery.
This was reaffirming, since I thought it was kind of a freak accident that caused the re-herniation. I scheduled the surgery ASAP with my first surgeon, and bypassed the PT/ESI suggestion. After the SECOND surgery, I felt the pain come back as soon as my pain medicine had run out. I tried to just rest and recover because I know that having a nerve pressed for that long will take some time to fully heal. I approached the 6 week post-op mark, still experiencing sciatic pain at the same level as the day the pain meds ran out.
Recently, I was pumping gas and when I removed the handle from my car I had back spasms that radiated down both legs and I couldn't move for the next few hours. I called my doctor and he got me some steroids to calm the inflammation and that helped me move around a bit more, as well as an MRI. Today I got the results, and it's re-herniated again.
I don't know what to do. As a 25 year old, I am coming to the full realization that I will be having problems with my back later in life. Any advice on what to do next, so as to minimize major problems down the road? Thanks in advance for anyone who cares enough to read my story.