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Hi, I am writing this post in response to the hundreds of horror stories that I have read on these many forums. I am a 36 year old mate who had a L4 L5 decompression discectomy 4 weeks to the day.
A bit about me then, as I said I am a 36 year old male, 6 foot 2 and althletic build. I have served in the British Army in both Commando and Airborne sqaurdrons. I am now a Police Officer and have been for ten years now and work on the firearms teams. The reason I had a herniated disc was that I always pushed my body to the limits and just took pain killers when my lower back hurt. I can recall back to 2005 when I was blown up in Iraq to my back problems. I would just push through the pain still squatting and doing dead lifts even though my hamstrings where tight through my running i just wouldn't give in.
That is until last summer 2015, I picked up a sofa at work whilst wearing all my kit (body armour, pistol and magazines strapped to my legs). I should of asked for some help but being a stubborn man who could do anything physical of course I wasn't going to ask for help. As soon as I lifted it I felt a sharp pain in my hamstring in my left leg but I thought nothing of it as I have always suffered with some form of back or leg pain. After approximately 1 week the pain was even worse but I could still walk and complete my day to day tasks. I paid for physio and sport massages which seemed to help and I was back in the gym thinking everything was ok, just carrying on. I had sciatic pain constantly for approximately 4 months at degreeing levels until November 2016. Carried on as normal until a hard day at work and a chest infection, I have always been very guarded on how I cough and sneeze because of my herniated disc, it would hurt like hell if I wasn't careful. Went to bed and fell into a deep sleep, that was until a coughing fit in the middle of the night. As soon as I had finished I knew my back had gone but I thought it would get better, I laid in bed for 4 days on just my right hand side because that was the only position that didn't hurt. I couldn't stand up without having to dive back on the bed in such agony. I had to go to the toilet in a bottle because I just couldn't stand up.
After 4 days of this I had to phone for an ambulance because it was just getting worse and the GP would not come to me because I was not an emergency, yeah I know not been able to stand for 4 days is not an emergency. To get into the ambulance I had to slide off the bed on my right hand side and the same down the stairs and onto the bed at the bottom of the stairs. Got to hospital where I was given Co-codomol, tramadol and diazepam but still had the pain so I was given a bed.
Had a MRI scan after 7 days in hospital where it was found that I had herniated my L4 L5 disc so much that most of the disc was hanging out. I was told by the surgeon that surgery was the only way which I knew myself anyway because of the pain. I welcomed the surgery because physio, pain killers and sport massages would never of fixed my herniation. As you look through these forums you will read that some people think that dancing around a tree and rubbing cream on your back will solve the problem, a bulge can go back with the above help but an herniated disc even if the pain is under control will not go away once it has poured out, it doesn't miraculously go back. You can look through all the websites and there is very little evidence that a herniated disc will go back to normal but a bulge yes.
When I woke up from the operation I had no sciatic pain at all, the only pain I had was from the surgery. The surgeon was unsure if I needed a fusion but said that once I was open he would decide which I was happy with just to not be in pain anymore.
Once I was wheeled back to the ward I just wanted to get going and tried straight away to wee, but this took me around 3 hours to empty my bladder. The next evening I was able to stand up without any pain ( Don't forget that I haven't been able to stand for around 14 days by then). I got walking straight away using crutches which was hard at first because I had lost a lot of mobility from my left leg but I was determined to get going. I had the operation on the Wednesday afternoon and I walked out of the hospital using crutches on the Friday afternoon. I was still a bit sore but no sciatic pain. On the Sunday I was out all day walking around using the crutches which I paid for in the evening, I had done to much so it was pain killers and straight to bed. In the morning I was fine and just took it easy which I have been for 4 weeks now, I had to use both crutches for around 2.5 weeks than one for the rest of the week. I now walk with no crutches and walk fine with no pain. Because I was opened up to have fusion my lower back muscles where prized from my spinal so my recovery took a little longer than the Micro-discectomy.
Want I really want to say is be positive, I needed surgery there was no question of that. The hardest thing for me now is taking it easy because I just want to get back to the gym but I know Rome wasn't built in a day. I have changed my whole attitude to my herniated disc, my days of dead lifting and doing squats are OVER that is for sure. Once that disc comes out there isn't anything put in it place so be careful and listern to your body but be positive. I was told to not do anything for 6 weeks that includes driving, after 3 weeks I felt good to drive so everyone is different (still haven't driven though because of doctors orders). I have seen the physio who gave me some stretchs to do at home which help a lot so don't pay lip service to them do them even if you are out and about find some time, they don't take long. Mine are for tight hamstrings.
I am off the pain medication which I stopped completely which was a mistake because I couldn't sleep, after 3 days I was fine.
Keep moving it does help, stay positive. I do have a long way to go but so far so good and everyday I get a little bit better, I never want to feel sciatic pain again so I am doing want I am told.
I will update in another 2 weeks after I have seen my surgeon. But if you have had a positive experience please can you post it because there is a lot of doom and gloom out there.
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