32 y/o Male. Herniated discs at l4/l5 and l5/s1. Very active typically. The former being the culprit here, the second less severe. It’s been re-agitating a couple times a year for the past 2-3 years. Symptoms – chronic lower back pain that I function with but takes away from my physical activities immensely. I have some sciatic pain in my hips and buttocks, and a few weeks ago had tingling in feet and then testicles (which has now subsided – at first was afraid of cuada equina syndrome, but no other symptoms for that). Sciatic pain is not nearly as painful as lower back pain, and is concentrated to only hips and butt.
Met with my neurosurgeon yesterday, and he won’t recommend a path of treatment, but said he would perform a microdiscectomy if that’s the path I wanted to go. I prodded him “what would he do?” and he wouldn’t play ball. While it would take care of the sciatica symptoms, he believes the lower back pain would still be there (though said there’s a chance it could improve). My concern is potential cuada equina, or permanent nerve damage if I don’t get the surgery done. Also, winter is slower for me and I could afford to be recovering work-wise in these months.
I’ve been having these symptoms for 3 years now, just confirmed the herniations / DDD / moderate to severe spinal stenosis a month ago.
Microdiscectomy scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I’m having big second doubts if it won’t address the back pain. Any advice? At the end of the day don’t I need to get that disc fragment removed? So it stops pushing on my nerves and spinal cord? Am I at elevated risk for cuada equina? Elevated risk for nerve damage, even though the sciatic pain is mostly in hips? Could I potentially go years / lifetime without having this become a medical emergency?
MRI picture of herniation: https://i.imgur.com/68usOJvl.jpg Thanks so much! I'm getting a second opinion on January 2nd, bout would love any input!