I posted a few weeks back with the results of my MRI (basically herniated disc, L4-5, etc.) and that I had done the epidural cortisone thing (twice), PT, etc.--and ultimately 2 docs recommended surgery (micro discechetomy).
In another thread I asked about Neurontin, which my Pain Management doc had recommended almost as an afterthought.
Well, here I am almost two weeks later and basically no longer in pain. I still get the occasionaly tweak of sciatic pain but really nothing that I couldn't live with--hell, out of necessity I actually shoveled snow this w/e (15 inches!) without any pain--that being said, I did use proper technique.
So, here I am with a Dr. appointment set for the 22nd to basically set up my surgery and I have to ask, do I need surgery if I'm not in pain?
I'm concerned that the neurontin is only masking the severity of the situation but I am equally concerned about having unecessary surgery.
I'm sure that if I ask the ortho he'll reply that I still need the surgery, while the PM doc tells me, if you feel good, don't have surgery.
I am scared that I am risking permanent nerve damage by foregoing the surgery, but then again if I feel ok....
I suppose I could stop taking the neurontin and see what happens--I'm actually gearing up to go back to the gym and do some cardio to work off some of the weight that I've gained due to inactivity.
Oddly enough before my Fusion on L-4/L-5 my back felt Great! After suffering for years.......It quit hurting! The leg numbness went away! It was Nuts for it to quit hurting!!
I had to think about it real hard! I finally figured ...........I'm so worried about Surgery my mind turned off the pain!!
I asked the surgen.....He said your mind can play tricks on you!
Anyway.....It's yor call!
I had the Fusion & have been doing Great for 26 mos. Glad I did it! I don't shovel snow.......But I do run a Big Walk behind Snowblower!
Dexter--Agree with Acme, but it's also true that things _do_ get better. Do you have objective signs of nerve damage from EMG, strength-testing, reflexes? Your doc may want to repeat the MRI if it's been a while to see if there has been some shrinking back of the disc. The key question, of course, is whether the there is any real _risk_ in waiting longer vs. the risk of surgery itself. If you're working out and shoveling snow with minimal discomfort, you don't "sound like" a surgery candidate to me. You may want to get yet another opinion--perhaps from a neurologist--on the whole question.
I'm going through the EXACT same thing, Herniated L4-5, but I'm only 23 years old and a mom.... I know some people who have had surgery and felt great, but 50 % of them had worse problems a few years after surgeries, and I'm so young. My 1st doctor wanted to recommend me for surgery, so I sought a 2nd opinion (I have a 5 month old, and can't take the time off my feet) who said that if I felt okay on most days (which I do) and if medication helped on bad days (which it usually does) that I should just try PT to get rid of the lower lumbar neuropathy and leg stuff (I too have had terrible sciatic nerve pain) and forget surgery unless I really became disabled. PT has helped some, and I don't have unbearable pain most of the time, so for me right now, surgery is out of the question.
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005