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I wanted to share my story in case there's anyone out there currently going through something similar.
-I'm 35 years old and in good shape, with exception of my current disc herniation in my L5 and respective nerve pain down my left leg- confirmed by a recent MRI.
-Over the last 5-6 years, I've had a handful of short battles with lower back pain (like once a year). These battles typically happen after I've over-exerted myself with landscaping projects, or other weekend work. This is likely due to using bad form (ie; bending forward to pull weeds, working long hours without breaks, etc.). My symptoms usually surface a day later and consist of an acute pain left of my tailbone area when seated, and general tightness as well (ie; difficulty bending forward to tie my shoes). I've always recovered after about a week of taking it easy, but unfortunately, never realized these were likely warning signs of a potentially bigger issue.
-About 3 months ago, I was struck with another episode. Per usual, several days passed and I could already tell the pain and stiffness was about 50% better. However, prior to fully recovering, I believe I exacerbated the injury while performing a task that put me in a precarious position. By the next day, I could tell something wasn't right. The pain was more extreme than normal, and I began experiencing left hip flexion issues- something new to what I had previously experienced. I also found I was unable to remain in a seated position without impinging the nerve. Whatever I did that day, was the final straw toward what I now know is a disc herniation.
-Over the last 3 months, I've been in chronic pain, which fluctuates day to day from mild to severe. I still have to avoid sitting down as much as possible. I also still rely on Ibuprofen when the pain is too much to bear. Admittedly, I've probably been more active than I should have during the times I've felt okay, which has likely inhibited my recovery a bit. That said, I've also gone from feeling okay to being in pain during times where I've been diligently resting. I've consulted a PT, a chiropractor and a former neurosurgeon, as well as had an X-ray and an MRI.
-Given the duration of this injury and the consult I received, I decided it was time to seek a more aggressive treatment and am in the process of scheduling a spinal steroid injection. The hope is that this will reduce inflammation enough to relieve my L5 nerve root, which is the culprit of all my pain. I know this will only address the pain, and the need still remains to rest and stretch appropriately, but given the chronic pain, I'm ready for the next step.
Thanks for listening to my situation. If you have questions or can relate to my situation, please feel free and chat. I will keep this post updated as I get scheduled for my injection, and beyond.