I had all your symptoms then awoke unable to lift toes and got drop foot overnight. Had to have microdiskectomy ten days later to remove fragment from nerve so Ic ould walk again. Was dragging foot behind me like stroke victim.
I knew I had a disk fragment on my nerve per MRI but wanted to do everything but surgery (walk, acupuncture etc) and wait to heal.
I am now 9 mons post op from microdiskectomy and still have some drop foot and lots of leg pain. But after op I could lift toes again.
I have a much longer recovery, 3 years for nerve to grow back (grows about one inch a month), if I even recover, all because I put off surgery. My nerve sheath was punctured. The disk fragment was resting right on the nerve for who knows how many months. I had back pain for 2 years prior, then another six months before surgery.
I assume your doctor asks if you can lift those toes or not. If you can't, it's serious. that seems to be their little test.
I will tell you that just before I got drop foot, I noticed a weakness in my leg. I also had a lumbar block cortisone injection via xray and got drop foot 5 days later, so it could be due to the shot.
You need to watch that leg/foot pain and weakness. If I'd known how serious it could get, I'd have had surgery long before. I would not have waited til I couldnj't lift my toes. When I got leg weakness, or even increased leg pain, i wish I'd done surgery.
My back pain was real bad. I could only lay on my side. Everything caused pain.
That's my two cents. I may now be permanently disabled in t he leg/foot. I still cannot sit due to stabbing pain in the tail bone area and its 9 mons since surgery. I limp and have horrible leg/foot/toe pain that is unbearable. I am stuck at home basically disabled.
I would be asking my doctor a lot of questions...this forum is good. I don't mena to scare you, but I sure wish I'd known then what I know now.
I hope others on here chime in. YOU NEED TO RESEARCH!!!!!
It sounds like you have gotten two opinions, which I consider to be wise. However, let me offer up something that my spine specialist told me when I changed from another ortho doctor to the one I've been seeing for several years. My first surgeon did not tell me this and I kept putting off the surgery, so I have numbness that is permanent.
This is something you may wish to question your doctors about as you have already had pain for several years and now numbness in the foot. He explained to me that when the nerve was bing compressed to present the pain and or numbness, that if it is repaired within the first 6 months there is all likelihood the nerve can recover, but at 9 months of being injured that drops to about 75 percent chance for full recovery and then at a year it drops to a 50 percent chance for full recovery of feeling and for the nerve to stop hurting. Now, once a nerve has recovered, if it has been hurting for such a long time, it can actually think it is normal to hurt and not stop hurting even though it has recovered. I had that to happen with a shoulder injury and had to then to do a pain clinic to get reular injections into the nerve ending to essentially retrain the nerve to accept "not hurting" as the norm again. Our bodies are complicated, aren't they?
Any way, thought you might want to ask your doc's if delaying a discectomy would lessen the chances for your compressed nerve to recover from the pain and numbness. Best wishes and hope you will let us know how things are going.
I think both posters have given you good advise. Do some research and learn what you can, and watch those symptoms. You are experiencing some serious symptoms of nerve damage and the longer you wait, the more chance those damages will be permanent.
No one can tell you when to have surgery or even if you should...that is your decision, but you need to be very watchful and not wait too long.