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Young athlete facing microdiscectomy

Hello everyone,

I am a 26 year old athlete with a very active lifestyle. I will do my best to cover the pertinent information in hopes for some guidance. I hurt my back a year ago while at Crossfit. I was told by my chiropractor that my SI joint was way out of alignment. Throughout 2017 I worked construction and worked out at my local crossfit box 5 days a week. I battled with my right si joint, which I thought was the root of the problem, off and on and periodically went to chiro for adjustments to keep pain at bay. The adjustments seemed to be working.

Early in December I stopped working out for a month in hopes that my nagging “SI” pain would resolve itself with some rest. Shortly after New Years I started getting a burning sensation in my left hamstring which led to a nasty case of radiculopathy. I got an MRI and the cause of the sciatic attack was a severely herniated L5 S1 disc with a free fragment which, in essence, is crushing my sciatic nerve. In the week before my MRI I could not sleep, sit, stand and my pain level was a constant 8-9 out of 10. The doctor prescribed me an oral steroid (medrol pack), muscle relaxer (tizanidine), and anti inflammatory (diclofenac), which made a huge difference and allowed me to get some much needed sleep and process the news. 

The spinal surgeon is pretty adamant about going into surgery as soon as possible to give my nerve the best chances of healing back to normal. His major concern was my leg weakness and drop foot caused by the compressed nerve. I have never had any epidural injections, I have not tried any physical therapy or any other forms of alternate treatment..

If anyone has shared a similar situation and you would be willing to share some advice I would greatly appreciate it.

All the best,




  • Hey Eric!

    Welcome to the forum! I'm also in my mid 20s and have issues with this disc. Have you been able to keep your pain levels low till this day? 8-9 is pretty high levels of pain. How are you feeling now?

    I have a very similar background as you. Is there anyway you can avoid the surgery and do conservative treatment? Please understand that the surgery is not a guaranteed solution. 

    It is possible that the surgery can cause further complications and could require attention in the years ahead (Spinal fusion). Please try conservative treatments beforehand (You might thank me one day). 


  • Hi Eric

    I am 25 also active, I used to go gym 5 days a week, football and road running. However I had the same problem as you. Had micro deiscetomy last year January 2017. However I have had mri's since due to pain I am still having. Which has proven te disc hasn't healed properly and I still have an herniated disc.

    However I could blame this on myself due to me starting to work possibly sooner than I should and starting to exercise sooner than I should have.

    If you were to have this surgery I highly highly recommend to listen to what the surgeon says and when they say not to lift or exercise for a certain lengt of time then do so. As I regret that decision. Dosc

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  • Thoracicfire, I read awhile back that you were contemplating thoracic surgery. I am new to this site and unfortunately have disc buldges in my TSPINE. I just wanted more information if you were willing to share and how you've managed with the pain. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank you!

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