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I am new to this forum(or any forum). I have read alot of the conversations on this site, trying to gain insight into my current situation.
I was active and without pain until some heavy yard work in November gave me sciatica with severe disabling pain. After two trips to the ER and getting an MRI, it was determined I had an l5/s1 disc bulge impinging on the s1 nerve. I also have a minimal grade 1 spondylothesis and bilateral pars defects at l5. I have no back pain, but had severe, disabling left-sided butt/leg pain due to radiculopathy. Over the past four months, I have been treated conservatively--multiple pain medications, three epidural steroid injections, and now physical therapy. My pain level has gone from a 10 to about a 5, but I am not able to sit or stand for very long without pain increasing.I have never had any pain like this before, and I have become very frustrated and anxious as a result. I think my level of improvement has plateaued, and I am considering surgery. A neurosurgeon would perform a discectomy. (An orthopedic surgeon wants to do a fusion due to the pars defects.) I am still told that I have improved, and should continue to do so, but I am not sure how long I can hang in there--I can walk, but not sit or stand for long, and the pain is still controlling my life and ability to function.
Any suggestions on how long to pursue physical therapy and exercise, before resorting to surgery? I was told the discectomy surgery should resolve the leg pain. Has anyone had the pain, weakness, and function resolve after months of pt and exercise? I am also concerned that the sciatic nerve will be permanently damaged if it does not get decompressed in the near future.