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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index


Just wanted some advice really from anyone who has had a microdiscectomy operation. I have mine in two weeks, but I am still a little dubious considering all the horror stories I have read about!

My story is that I injured my back in 2001 when I was running on a treadmill and twisted my ankle. I felt my right hip go and immediately had shooting pains down my right leg. At only 20 years of age, I had no idea what it was and just rested it for a few months. The pain went and I never thought about it again.

Then in September 2005 I woke up with sciatica one morning, again in my right leg, all the way down to my foot. It progressively got worse and I went to see a chiropractor, who told me I had sacroiliac strain.

About 2,000 worth of treatments down the line and two years later and I still have sciatica. I have done every kind of physio imaginable and must some have the strongest core muscles in existence! My sacroiliac problem seems to have died down as I have learned how to straighten my hips out and have eradicated the leg length difference.

I was on the verge of making a full recovery about three months ago after spending days swimming in the pool and lots of physio. I exercised through the pain most of the time as I thought it was better to keep moving than just rest. I just had a bit of tingling in my foot in the end. I was told by the NHS that my scans showed a bulge at L5 S1, but there was nothing they could do.

Then two months ago I was packing to go away to a new job, just lifting a few suitcases. The next day I woke up with sciatica, which became completely unbearable after a few hours.

I was immobile for a good few weeks, but have made an okay recovery, although have not returned to work. I am swimming every day and only get severe pain when I wake in the morning. Driving is very painful (in fact any sitting down has me grimacing!) A new MRI has shown a moderate herniation at L5 S1 and the surgeon says that a microdiscectomy is the best way to treat my problem.

My physio is giving me traction and says I will get better through more core strengthening.

The problem that I have is I am not in absolute agony and always hope that there may be this magic cure for this leg pain. I don't have back pain either. Yet the pain has prevented me having a normal life for the past two years and I have to miss out on so much to try to cope with it. It makes sitting down at work unbearable. I have had to give up my favourite sport of tennis and it's dashed my dreams of becoming a tennis coach. It just makes me so miserable when it's bad because it impinges on every aspect of your life! All I would love is to be able to play a game of tennis without grimacing in pain.

The pain is very strange though. If I am just pottering round and walking I don't notice it too much. I am not sure if I have just become immune to the pain!

I know that once I return to work I will return to this never-ending cycle of doing a day's work and then just coming home to the ice pack! I am a journalist so sit down for most of the day.

I have also lost the ankle reflex in my right foot now and have a bit of muscle wasting in my right leg.

I feel that I have done all I can with physiotherapy because I don't feel like I can get any stronger with my core!

But I must admit I am very worried about taking the plunge with this operation because I don't want it to ruin my chances of returning to a reasonably normal life where I am not writhing in agony whenever I sit down for longer than five minutes!

Please help if you can offer any knowledge or experience,


Jeff (26), England

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