Got my results today and my back is a mess. L4-5 from the MRI showed hernination on my nerve but didnt show all the other problems.
They checked the one below and above it and it hurt like hell so I figured something was wrong with them after the test. My worst nightmare was I would need a fusion instead of the easy surgery to just scrape the disc off the nerve.
Today he told me L4-5 is the worst, but would require a fusion, not the other surgery. He told me the one above it and below it are bad too so he cant tell me for sure if it will fix me or not. He said I would eventually need all 3 fused but only wanted to try one out first. He also said for the lower one, he would have to do that from the front, not the back and the thought of that makes me just want to puke.
I dont even understand why he would want to try just fusing the L4-5 area at first, it strains the discs above it and below it which we now know is already bad which would probably FORCE me to get all 3.
The only good news about all this is if I dont do too much, I'm not in a lot of pain. I am only in a lot of pain after walking a lot, twisting, bending ect. I would rate my pain when I wake up in the morning about a 2-3 and a 6-7 when I get home from work. Needless to say, I will have to find a new carreer for sure. No more climbing ladders and all that stuff I used to do.
I think I will hold off on the surgery for as many years as I can. I hope and believe in the next 5-10 years it will go to a new level with disc replacements. Maybe by then, that will be my solution instead of these fusions.
Get a second opinion, especially if you don't feel comfortable with what your doctor is suggesting to you. Fusion is forever- your back will never be the same. It is a "last resort" surgery, so make sure that it is the right decision for you. I only decided to go ahead with mine after I was in such severe pain and having such severe neurological symptoms that I couldn't function in my daily life, and couldn't face living the rest of my life as I was. I was also risking permanent nerve damage if I didn't have it done. If you can hold off on surgery, do it as long as you can. Try all of the alternative methods to relieve your pain first! Good luck, we are here if you have more questions!
I went through that - IT HURTS!!!! But, only if there's something wrong...normal discs just cause pressure during the procedure.
Now, I know there are many who don't like this idea, but I had an IDET (IntraDiscal ElectroThermal Therapy) last summer, where they use a wire inserted in your disc and melt it enough to hopefully seal the fissure (also works for herniation and DDD). It's actually less painful that the discogram!!! I have yet to feel the disc pain (haven't felt it since 24 hours after the procedure!).
BUT, you have to go to the top-of-the-line ortho (trauma/sports - i.e., one who works on professional atheletes) and go above and beyond their recommendations. You're more likely to have a successful recovery that way.
My reason for recommending this procedure is two-fold: 1) it's an outpatient procedure with less recovery time and a similar success rate as fusion, and 2) you get to keep your disc. If it fails, then you can look into fusion.
From what I understand, though, is that once you get a fusion, the potential for it causing additional problems in the discs surrounding the fused disc is pretty high. That's just research, though. I think others on this site can give you a practical, realistic view on that theory.
I personally couldn't do surgery yet - I had to use all my non-op options before I did surgery. And, the only surgery I thought made sense for me was a BMP (Bone Morphogenic Protein), where a biodegradable sponge-like substabce is placed where your disc was tells the cells in that region to grow bone.
Of course, this is your decision - only you & your doctor can ID the right solution for you. But, I hope this information is helpful.
Parks I'm very sorry for all that is going on with you I hope that things will work out for the best!
I had to jump in here with another op. regarding Rampages I-det solution.Rampage I'm glad this worked for you but you are one of the few.I also had a I-det just about 2 yrs. ago now and I had no luck with it at all!In fact the failure rate is quite high for this procdure and a lot of docs. will not do it anymore.Then last year I ended up with the fusion anyway.So I'm glad it worked for you but like anything you have to look at all the info and try to make the best dec. for you!!!
I know that all this is very scary and hard to deal with but all you can do is your best!
Hey, I totally agree...the decisions we make have to be the best for us. I did luck out, and I am very thankful. I felt 85, and now I feel in my 30s-40s, which is a blessing.
I'm just also worried about the fusion option too...it's such a big decision to make! And unfortunately the failure rate can be really high, depending on which one you choose. Plus, the "domino effect" is also a concern.
I guess my only point to this particular response is that I wish we had better, more successful options available! This kind of pain is just debilitating, and I want noone else to have to go throught this.
I just think everyone needs to trust their dr. and really research their options thoroghly. That's the only reason I went ahead with the IDET...I trusted my dr. and spent over a year trying to decide what to do. The decision was easier than the pain during the time I spent deciding!
Hope the fusion helped...surgery scares me, but if it helps you I'm totally in your corner. You take care too!!!
Well I have read all the replies and all I can say is good luck! Everyone here seems to have their own story but still so similar are they all. I am 28 years old and injured my back 2 weeks before my marriage to my loving wife! I was only 26 at the time and had been an active firefighter Paramedic for a very busy department for 5 years. I am still employed with them (it does not feel like it however) and I am looking at never going back to being a fireman again. This was and still is my dream job. I was making 32,000 a year but cleared 50k or more with overtime. They, being work want to now place me in dispatch starting at 23K with very little overtime to be had, Ouch! This would not be so bad if thats what I was used to making however we all get comfortable with a salary! Sorry I got off track! I had the chance to do a disc decompression or fusion with the BMP at l5 s1. My Pain doc said the decompression MIGHT work, and the surgeon said that it would definately not after my diskogram results were in, so I opted for the BMP fusion. I am not unhappy with the results, my leg pains are about a 1 or 2 on the pain scale now however my back hurts like a 12. I wish now that I would have opted for that one more step before the surgery even if it was just a shot at success, now I will never know what might have been, or may not have! Sorry for the long letter! It is now 530 am and I woke up at 3 with my back pain! Good luck with your back, we all have different stories to tell may yours be one of success. This whole board is in my prayers every day and night. God bless and love to all!!!!
Hi all,Misery here.Ramage I hope my reply didn't upset you that wasn't what I was going for.I just get frusterated with the options open to us.I'm truly happy the I-det worked for you.I just think my best advise is for people to really look at what there docs are offering them.I say this because I wasn't always proactive in my treatment.I have been fighting this for over 20yrs.I'm only 34.Some have done more damage than good.NO my fusion has not worked that was 16months ago.Yes it was the hardest decsion I have ever made,but I ahd to take the chance.
I do very much agree with you on all these points.I just wonder what eles can we do,other than punch my docs,in the nose!!!
Jason,please do not give up hope, it is the one thing we must hold on to always.
There are alot of stories here that do not have the best results,do not let that interfere with your treatment what doesn't work for others may work for you.We just want you to make a informed decsion on what is best for you.Best of luck in what you do all of you are in my prayers.
Rampage, I saw some of your post about the tennis ball thing,could you explain in detail,and does this work for other nerves ect.or just the pin, nerve that you have problems with?
def seek a second opinion, just so you know your options. Do you have DDD or just the herniation? I had DDD if I had not, I doubt my dr would have suggested the two level fusion I just had (and happy I did too), but this is a last resort as we all keep saying. I had an ortho who did a micro-d on my bulge three years ago. This dr was a NS that did this surgery. Don't worry too much about WHAT kind of dr he or she is, (other than the spine fellowship so many on here HIGHLY recommend) what matters is that he or she is supportive and willing to listen to you and answer you honestly and give you your best options. If you think you can hold off for some time even change your job then that is a great option to have! I have to change my position now for sure, but I accepted that way before my surgery. I wish you all the best and hope you get what you are looking for!
you could NEVER upset me...i totally understand that this board is solely for the sake of throwing out all the possible options and let each member id what's best for them! mel1977 and i have discussed pretty much ever option we've expreienced, so i think she'll agree with that (hopefully???)
i'm just glad i get the chance to share my experiences with others...one NEVER knows what'll work! i do agree with the "punching" feeling...i think that's why i've spent so much time researching my docs, etc!
tennis ball - this is for sciatica. i take the ball and place it under the middle of my buttock (the piriformis runs from the lower back out and down to the hip bone or greater trochanter) and just lie there. hope that's enough detail. if not, i'll try to find a better way to id the process or receommend a website. there should be one out there. i got the idea from a massage therapist. it hurts, but man it works! apparently, the piriformis is so deep beneath the glutes that "exercising" the muscle is by using the tennis ball. you know, i have no idea if it works elsewhere...i'll keep my eyes peeled for that.
sorry the fusion didn't work for you. what kind did you get? mechanical, bone graft, bmp? please take it easy...i hope you'll be able to finally get it fixed. what a ^%$#$!
i'm on my 5th year dealing with my pain...we have no choice but to just keep plugging away. it's our strength that gets us through this. i guess despite my periodic "depression" i've just learned that some pains i can eliminate and some i can't. sucks to be philosophical and all, but it helps me survive as best i can.
chin up - we're all going through rough times, and we'll be here for you!