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Micro surgery and then herniation day 2
So here is my story I'm a 35 year old guy.....
It all started back in December 2010. I was building a deck and did something wrong apparently. There was never an exact moment or cause that I could pinpoint but I started getting the pain down my leg that I now know was sciatica. At that point I had no idea what sciatica was or that my spine was injured. I just thought I hurt myself and it would just go away. Boy I was wrong about that. Stupidly, I just took some Advil and just kept right on working. Day after day I just kept making it worse till one day I couldn't stand up for more than 5 seconds.
Of course I went to the chiro and he sold me on a bunch of BS that he would fix me up. I still had no idea what was really wrong. $1000 later I gave up and decided to go to a real doctor who recommended that I get an MRI. That was was money well spent. Should have done that day one. The MRI told me that I was herniated at L4-L5 by about 7mm and that I had mild Spondy. So I hit the internet and got educated real fast. I felt like I was doomed, mentally and physically.
Met with a Ortho doctor and he recommended surgery but wanted me to first try a epidural and Prednisone and pain killers. All a waste of time. Did nothing. My herniated disc pinching on my spinal nerve just laughed at those remedies. I was in major pain. No sleep. No walking. No work. I was dying with pain. The Ortho doctor wanted to fuse me. Ah, no I don't think so.
So I met with a neuro surgeon and he recommended the microdiscectomy surgery. So I got educated fast by reading up on the procedure on the net and sites like this (thank you!). I had no other options. So in Jan 7th 2011 I went under the knife.
Everything went well during the surgery I was told and I woke up pain free. At least pain free from sciatica. I was so happy. Went home a few hours after the surgery and was looking forward to moving on in life. They told me to take it easy. Don't bend over. No twisting. All the stuff you would expect.
Somehow on day 2 I screwed something up because the pain was back. Again no singular event or thing happened that caused it. Total mystery to this day. I was very scared, very angry, and thought this was the end for me. Yes, I tried ice, prednisone, pain killers, bed rest. It was all a waste of time. The doctor kept telling me this happens sometimes and we need to give it a few weeks and the pain will go away. Yeah right. I heard that before.
Finally got another MRI and of course I re-herniated L4-L5 1 cm. So the doc tells me this happens 10% of the time. Naturally I got to be a statistic. Looked around on the net but I didn't see many stories from people who went through this. I was a little worried to say the least. Anyways, I had no other choice but to revisit the surgery and try again. All within a few weeks from the first surgery. Good times.
Jan 28th 2011 I went for round 2. Same initial results. No sciatica pain. Up and walking. Everything was good. Big smile on my face. However, this time the doc told me to stay in bed for a few weeks. Literally all day long. Just lay in bed and only get up to use the restroom is what he told me. So I did just that. For weeks. I watched every TV show and movie known to man. I was sick of watching TV. Read books and looked out the window. I was sick of being in bed but it worked. So I took it day by day. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. I was very paranoid about everything I did. Sitting, putting on my clothes, using the restroom, picking things off the ground, etc. People thought i was crazy. The regular people that have not experience what we have gone through will never fully understand.
After months went by the doc finally OK'd me to start physical therapy. Which was great because my whole body was weak and I had no strength. The number one thing I learned there was that prior to my injury I had no core strength and I had poor body mechanics. Well this was my opportunity to fix all that. So that what I started working on.
It's been almost 1 year 5 months for me. I am grateful to say I haven't had any sciatica pain since the 2nd surgery. I have been working out, running, playing some basketball, and playing with my children.
Now that it looks like I am in the clear. I often wonder how much my back can take or what type of activities I should completely avoid. If anyone knows or has some thoughts I would appreciate it. I am think about going back to snow skiing this next winter season but I don't know if I should give it up. Also, I love diving and doing flips off the diving board at the pool. Should I give that up too? How much can I really torque on my disc? How well will the scar tissue hold up? Maybe it come down to risk tolerance? Do I want to end up hurt again?
Hopefully my story is interesting or even better helpful to someone out there. Maybe someone who re-herniated right after Micro surgery? If anyone has comments or wants to ask me a question please don't hesitate.