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Driven33 02-27-2014 07:10 PM

Help on bulging disc?
I won't go into all the details but I was first diagnosed with piriformis syndrome last September and was told I could keep playing competitive football as it was primarily a pain tolerance issues (big mistake now that I know). Eventually had MRI that confirmed I believe a "large posterior paracentral protrusion that was displacing root sleeve" (something like that, I don't have the report in front of me). I was sent to spinal specialist who came in and literally said, "You have two options, I can give you an epidural shot that works 30% of the time or I can do surgery that works 95% of the time". I had researched enough to know that I should avoid surgery if I could so I said as much. He then tested my reflexes, strength (toe raises and heel walk, etc.) and said "I don't have a problem trying an epidural since you haven't lost any strength really or reflexes". Long story short, I ended up reading horror stories about the shots as well so I decided to try spinal decompression before I did the shot. After my 15th session or so, I definitely started to notice improvement in my leg pain (I only had leg pain, severe at times, but no back pain except after physical therapy). So, I started to slowly train again, running lightly etc. and frankly it was going great...until I went to stop one run and jammed my left heel on the ground which drove my leg into my back (the sciatica pain was in my right leg). Next morning I woke up with severe back spasms, which eventually turned into severe leg pain again. The pain was TERRIBLE this week, primarily in my glut and hamstring. I broke down this morning and took the 1st dose of the Medrol pack I was given back in December (I stubbornly refused to take it, being somewhat paranoid of side effects). Needless to say, within two hours, the pain reduced DRAMATICALLY. I went from only being able to walk maybe 5 minutes before having to lay on my stomach to walking around and driving myself to an appointment today (now after I got out of the car, I had a spasm but still wasn't as intense).

Anyway, I did drive a little today but still no real pain and plan on taking my second dose before bed and finishing the pak. I realize I was silly to not try oral steroids earlier (this may be why the spinal surgeon elected to say we only had 2 options--he assumed according to my records that I had already tried oral steroids?). As of this afternoon and presently, I still don't really feel pain; I just feel a slight tingling in my big toe and sometimes sporadically in different parts of my foot.

Here's my paranoid question--is it a good sign or bad sign when pain turns to tingling? I don't want to have surgery and have searched countless times online. What are the signs that conservative treatment is working?

I apologize if this shows me as a "rookie" or paranoid but any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your time and willingness to read this long post. Hope you all have a great night!

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