In November 2015, I suddenly developed severe left leg pain after a long kayaking trip and was found to have an L5-S1 herniated disc impinging on the nerve root. The discomfort prevented me from sitting for more than a few minutes at a time and nearly all activities and sports became painful. My favorite sport (surfing) was no longer feasible. It seemed possible that this condition would be permanent or at least would take a very long time, potentially a year or so, to resolve. Very scary.
I ultimately sought help from James Wyss, MD. After a trial of physical therapy, we decide to try an epidural steroid injection. It was no fun, but he got it in the right spot immediately and it started to work a bit. Yet, at this point, I remained pretty freaked out about the future.
The real key was starting physical therapy, this time with Jessica Hettler, PT. In retrospect, I was pretty unnerved about my situation and skeptical when I started. But Jess is the consummate professional and superb at what she does. The improvement while working with her over the last couple of months has been dramatic. I am much stronger and almost completely recovered, to the point where I was able to surf for 10 days straight without significant pain—only about 4 months after being completely debilitated. Thank you, Jess, Dr. Wyss, and HSS! What an amazing place.