I am at a loss, I've been seeing a physical medicine doctor that specializes in back injuries for the past 12 months. I have shallow herniations at L3-4 and L5-S1 with a more severe one (I forget the term) at L4-5. The one at L4-5 seems to be the problem child, I also have some nerve compromise at that level that has caused foot drop syndrome.
I initially opted for conservative treatment even though somewhat emergency surgery was offered due to a marked weakness in my leg and the foot drop. In the year, I've recovered to the point of resolving the foot drop and regaining nearly all the strength in my leg. I can walk normally again.
I have flare ups that occur about every 8-12 weeks. These typically last 1-4 weeks. They usually come on because I push it too far. The flare up will cause nagging back pain, some sciatic leg pain and a mild numbness in my foot.
My doctor has now said I've most likely reached maximum medical improvement. That my options now are to have surgery or live as I do. Most of the time I'm fine but that's by really be careful with what I do. Plus I reduced my schedule to part time after being out for 5 months. I also avoid all situations that would require me to sit or stand too long, like traveling. I do a lot of what I used to but there's still a lot missing. I would like to work full time and be able to travel again. I'd like to go to a movie without planning laying down decompression time immediately before and after.
I'm just worried surgery will make me worse, especially in the long run. I have a surgical consultation next week for a discectomy but I feel like with the disc above and below already compromised its just set up to fail.
While I'm not ready to accept this is as good as it gets. Being back to 75% is better than where I was a year ago and I don't want to go back either. I feel like it's a no win, so I'm curious what prompted you to have surgery and do you have regrets?