I am 48 male, moderately active and slightly overweight. I have had very minor lower back issues for twenty years from an motor vehicle accident but have always been able to manage it with taking it easy when it flared up or seeing my chiro. In March of this year I was pouring some concrete and started to have some severe pain. It got so bad I could barely walk but this time the chiro couldn't help. I scheduled an appt. with a ortho surgeon and have been on a path toward surgery since then. Prescribed drugs didn't touch the pain, back to the dr. x-ray didn't show anything, back to the dr., MRI, back to the dr. The MRI showed a herniated disc at L4/L5. It is a moderate herniation but the pain it causes is anything but moderate. I tried an inversion table and it seemed to make it worse. I basically live on about 1600 mg of Ibuprofen a day. The pain is 24/7 and when the Ibuprofen kicks off it is enough to make a grown man cry. I have never experienced pain like this.
I have had one steroid injection and it helped for less than a week. Since it didn't really do anything my ortho said surgery was a good option. The way he explained it to me was he would make an incision at the troubled spot, get through the muscle, move a nerve to the side and clean out the "jelly" that has petruded from the herniation. That all sounded fine and I was scheduled for surgery this Monday. Went to the hospital and got all my blood work, EKG, and all that preliminary stuff out of the way. Then the dr. called me back to the office yesterday and said he wanted to change course and try another injection and not do surgery. I don't completely understand this but from what I understand the herniation or "jelly" is on the inside side of the disc, meaning he would have to cut part of the bone of L4 to get to the damage. He basically said it is more complicated than first thought, and cutting part of the bone does seem much more invasive.
I walked away with no confidence in the dr., wondering why he didn't see that the first time he read the MRI three weeks ago. It kinda depressed me that the surgery changed three days before it was to take place, and wonder what would have happened if he hadn't caught it. So I now have an appt. with a pain institute on Monday and a NEURO same day. I feel like I am back to square one and last night the pain was off the charts. I am a minister but haven't been to work for three weeks. I am hoping someone on here has had a similar experience and I can learn from your journey.