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Posted by Pat G on November 26, 2000 at 17:50:45:

In Reply to: IDET/Fusion for multi-level spine degeneration posted by Beth on November 26, 2000 at 17:35:45:

: Hi,

: Brief history...problems for a couple of years - got really bad in Aug '00. Had MRI which showed severe degeneration in L4-5, L5-6 (yep, extra vertebrae)had the morphine blocks, phys. therapy, tried bracing, pain meds (still...) muscle relaxers - still no workie.

: After myleogram and discogram (YUK!!) disco showed that the 3 levels they tested , 3-4, 4-5 & 5-6 were all positive (4-5, 5-6 the worst). I had them stop after these three - horrible.

: My neurosurgeon then advised that I had degenerative spine disease and (in his exact words) 'he could not fuse my entire spine'.

: He recommended continual pain management - PROBLEM, I have a terrific career, am only 31 and have a husband and two little children. I cannot imagine the rest of my life on pain management - while this thing progresses.

: I have been to two different neurosurgeons, and orthos and they have recommended IDET - not much info on this new procedure. And if it fails - you end up fused anyway.

: I am currently seeing a neurosurgeon who is recommending I have an EMG to check for permanment nerve damage! - WHAT.

: I have no explanation to why this is happening - no injury, trauma or accident. All I hear...you are too young for this...

: No kidding...

: Right now, I do not have any ideas to my options. IDET or nothing. I am told that I am not a candidate for any fusion because of the multiple levels. But then I hear of this new 'cage' fusion technique.

: Any information I will greatly appreciate...

: thanks for listening to my griping.

: Beth
Dear Beth: I had twinges of pain in my low back in my 20s. It never got real bad until I reached 43 yrs. old. I am a woman who raised 3 kids and am now 52 years old. I have had two back surgeries; one in my low back and one in my neck (neck fused at C5-6 in June, 2000; low back surgery on C4-5 in March, 1993).

Pain Management is NOT the end of the world. If I were you, I'd try the Pain Management first, before any surgeries. My neurosurgeon has told me she repaired my back; she didn't give me a new one. No one can build it like God can (the original back!) If you can get away with avoiding surgeries, I would. It, also, depends on the type of Pain Management you get. In other words, if the Pain Management works, then just go with that. Often times after back surgeries, the pain does NOT go away. I had my neck fused because the main spinal nerve was getting pressed on by a herniated disk, and if I had left it alone, I could have had permanent damage to that main nerve. In the low back, it is different than in the neck (I'm not sure how, but I think a herniated disk in the low back isn't as serious as in the neck). The pain in my neck is still there, and my neurosurgeon said I may have to live with it. It did NOT cure the pain; it saved my main spinal nerve. I no longer have any numbness and tingling; you do NOT want to have that because that means a nerve is getting pinched and if it is getting pinched, it could be getting damaged.

I hope I've helped you in some way. Also, people are starting to post at the new site that you see when you first go to this site. I just happened to come back to this old site and I saw your post. You will eventually have to go to the new site, as this one is getting shut down. There are a lot of us here and we all may have something to tell you. Things one person may miss can be explained by someone else. It gives you a lot of different viewpoints for you to examine. Feel free to post again to me or to others on the new site before we lose you. Take care, Pat G.

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