This doctor is in the orthopedic department, not the same medical professional who is handling my epidural steroid injections (ESI), that's a good thing. I want to keep these practitioners and their philosophies separate. The latter doctor is an anesthesiologist who specializes in non-surgical treatments for spinal problems and pain, in this case mine's a bad herniation at L5-S1. After my second ESI, the doctor was cautiously optimistic given that my MRI showed my herniation was bad. He said if I had signficant relief by mid-November I could get shot #3. If that third shot doesn't get me to 90% back to normal, that I need to think about surgery.
This was not much different than the conclusion that the surgeon came to today after I told him about my level of relief (acute pain down quite a bit) and reviewed what has transpired, but I:
- still limp, dragging my left leg, which is weak;
- have pretty annoying dull tailbone pain, which he said makes sense based on what the steroid shot has accomplished so far in terms of pain reduction at L5-S1. This is painful particularly after driving;
- have an inability to sit comfortably for very long (I have a desk job) without getting really stiff and in pain. I've been toughing it out.