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Please explain...a question about lumbar disc herniation/sciatica/surgery
I have been reading the forums for a while and I don't understand something that I notice on here. And please forgive me in advance - I am not trying to be rude, just a newbie at this and needing clarification, so please let me know what I don't understand.
My story a bit first:
I have had severe sciatic pain almost constantly for the last 5 months, worse between 4am and 10am, then as I walk it eases up a bit and while I am at work (where I stand up and walk around all day with no sitting and no heavy lifting) my mind is usually able to focus on work and is only interrupted a bit by pain. I have been taking 800mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day and tylenol when I need it. Usually 3 times a day. I had an MRI which shows a large disc herniation at L4/L5 and a smaller one at L5/S1, DDD and facet hypertrophy. I have tried steroid epidural - no relief, am doing PT exercises to strengthen my core, my pain is worsening, the medication is less effective than it was, and I am going in for a microdiscectomy because it feels like that is the only option I have. I do not feel that living with the pain is an option. I am finding it impossible to be a wife and mother in the way I was before, I am sure you all know what I mean by that. I can't give my family my full attention because my mind is half on the pain a lot of the time, and I am much less patient, have difficulty shutting my mouth about my pain etc, I am sure my family think it is my favorite topic of conversation.
What I don't understand is why do I read on here about some of you with a similar diagnosis not opting for surgery? Is it possible that the pain gets better with time, PT etc, or is there another reason to avoid surgery that I am missing? I read one person's post that said she has had a bugling disc since 2006 and is in extreme pain and manages it with pain meds. I feel like I have read a number of similar stories. I just don't understand why you would spend 7 years in pain. Plus there is the possibility of permanent nerve damage. I feel like I am missing some knowledge or information, so please enlighten me. I haven't drunk the kool aid on surgery, I know there are risks, but I don't see my quality of life improving without trying surgery. I am aware that there are people who are anti-hosptials, surgery etc. My own husband is very anti-conventional medicine and thinks that hospitals are more likely to make you sick than heal you. So tell me what I am missing and please don't take offense at what I have said, I am trying to find the right solution for my back and I don't understand why you would live with chronic pain, permanently medicated, and risking permanenet nerve damage.
L4/L5 disc herniation
L5/S1 disc herniation
Severe sciatic pain