I have degenerative disk disease in the L5 S1 and a bulging disk at L5 S1. I have tried physical therapy, chiropractor's, steroid injections, and the diskogram. I have been dealing with all of this for about 10 years now. I am out of options and now my doctor has said that the disk fusion is my only alternative. I am 34 and want to know what are the pros and cons of having this done now or waiting?
Just like you, I was recently diagnosed with L5/S1 degenerative joint disease, along with a bulging disk at the same location.
Why doctors call it a "degnerative disease" is a misnomer to me because medical scientist say waisting away at this joint is a natural process that occurs in humans. So if its natural aging occurence, why call it a disease?
My doctor also explained that if an individual decides not to have fusion performed by surgery to deal with the degenerative joint, nature will eventually take its course and a natural fusion will occur over time. So I guess the big question remains as to how long one is willing to wait for a natural fusion to occur over time. Think about how humans dealt with this often painful process before surgery was even a possibility. Also keep in mind that there are many individuals out there who have the exact same condition upon random x-raying people, yet they demonstrate no pain. It's kind of a mystery why some people manifest the pain and others don't.
Whether one is willing to wait for this natural process to occur is a matter of choosing between tolerating the pain or seeking invasive surgery to do the job. That is obviously a very personal and unique decision. A person's genetics has alot to do with how one tolerates pain and this was recently published in the medical journals.
Usually the main reason for surgery is for dealing with a bulging disk that causes leg pain. In other words, back surgery is usually for dealing with the severe sciatica.
Personally, I have tried the follwing to deal with my similar situation:
*prayer, prayer, prayer and fasting
*daily mild exercise
*mild use of anti-inflams.
Welcome to the boards i'm afairly new chic here also..
What abetafish said is very true they don't or should not do fusions just for back pain, it should be for nerve impingement sciatica/foot drop and so on..
I had fusion for my disc as they were squashing my nerves, But also i have another disc now which is not trapping no nerves yet but they will not touch me. But i have tremendous back pain, My surgery was nearly 2 yrs ago and i am now worse, Most people have had surgery on this board but from what i see they still have probs!!! Some guys come back here and let you know they are fine from what i have heard but for most they have a problem or two, So if i were you i would THINK long and hard!
I don't want to put you off! NO-ONE could have put me off at the time Bear, i would have gone a head regardlessly of what i heard because of my pain, But i would not go through surgery for my disc for all the money in the world again..
best of luck to you dear..
lower Lumber probs.
L2 Bulging, But Docs will not touch as there is no nerve trouble there.
3 Level fusion L3-L4 L4-L5 L5-S1
No better after fusion.
Loss of bladder control (OK NOW )
Lots of physio..
1 Bone scan
1 Cat Scan
Loads of ESI'S
lots of Mediacation and i'm allergic to most of them..
Now Under P/M CONSUTANT HAVE BEEN FOR THE PASS SIX MONTHS..
Need Friends and Comfort, with the odd laugh..
Thanks to all your information. It was very helpful. I am no closer to an answer than I was before. I have read alot of other people's experiences in this forum and I don't know what to do. I do appreciate your insight into my problem. Thanks.