Hey All. I'm looking for opinions from a variety of sources about whether or not getting surgery is the right option for me.
About me: I am a 23 year old female. I am a 'semi-retired' runner (due to my injury). I ran track in college (sprints, jumps, and hurdles). I would still like competing on a semi serious level. I also used to enjoy power / o lifting which is hard if even possible for me to do. For my career when I finish grad school I'd like to be a college strength coach or a college track coach.
What Happened: During college I herniated my L5 S1 disc... this was finally diagnosed in Feb 09, after about 3 months of being tossed around athletic trainers and doctors not knowing what was really wrong. Finally got the MRI in Jan that told me I had a herniated disc. In 2009 I got two epidurals one in Feb shortly after the discorvery, and one in Sept. when I returned to school and the pain returned. The epidurals helped a lot and allowed me to continue to lift and run as I pleased w/o pain for about 4-6 month periods. More or less from Feb 2009 on I was in and out of training and the last yr and a half of my college career was ruined.
For the past year (until recently) I was out of school and in and out of training on my own. I still wanted to try to compete here in there in random meets. But of course pain liked to interfer.
Where I am now: This past Aug I started Graduate school and decided it would be a good idea to go see what is going on in my disc. I found a great spine specialist, and surgeon who works with the athletes at the school I am attending. We had one 'referal' appt. where we basically just discussed what was going on and set up an MRI. I got an MRI and had a follow up meeting. Naturally the MRI still shows the herniated disc and possibly more servere then it previously was. The Dr. explained to my my options 1. continue to suck it up and live going in and out of pain 2. actually be religious about the rehab / core work I should be doing (this may help with my pain) 3. go through another serious of epidurals (helped my pain in the past but only for a few months at a time) 4. a decompression surgery (a piece of the disc that is pressing on the nerve and causing the pain will be cut off).
With all of that in mind, I would like some help / advice in hopefully making a decision that is right for me. Thanks!