Hi All. I’m quite new to the board and I have spondylothesis grade 2. I hope to have more knowledge on why people chose to have back surgery and gather some information to help me come to terms with this procedure that I need but scared to get. I don’t know anyone who has had back surgery similar to my case. It helps knowing that others have gone through what I may need to go through. Also, so I will know what to expect and accept. I appreciate any and all questions answered.
I’m extremely terrified of the surgery that I need to get and I just want to better prepare my self for anything and the worst case scenario.
Last edited by moderator2; 02-22-2006 at 09:13 AM.
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I can totally relate with you.
Started waking up with bad back pain almost 4 years ago. Saw my Gp, had x-rays done and was told simply that I had a curved spine in my lumbar region. He told me to try physio and some anti inflamatories. I did that for about 3 months and it just got worse.
I saw my Gp again and he put me on the list for a ct scan ( I live in Canada) I had to wait about 6 months for one. Once that was done, they discovered that there was more of a problem and I should see a specialist/ortho surgeon. I was put ont the list for that and was told it would be about 3 months for my first visit, it took a year!
Even though I still didn't have a proper diagnosis I was sent to see another specialist while I waited to see the other one. He decided that I should do some ESI's. Those did nothing for me, in fact for the first few days afterwards I was in way more pain than usual. I also had a bone scan. Finally like I said, it took a year for my first visit with the surgeon.
At that appt he ordered an MRI and we discussed possible surgeries. It took about 3 months for my MRI and then I met with my surgeon again. At this appt he told me had had spondylolisthesis with an L5 S1 fracture, mildly curved lumbar spine and suffer from sciatica. He thought that maybe because of my age (23) the best treatement would be non surgvical. I agreed as I did not want to under go surgery. I felt that the odds were not that great and I would be better off if could avoid it all together. It was also my worst fear to have surgery and most of all a hospital stay! So we decided to try some more physio. This time we incorporated accupuncture. It wasn't something that I can say gave me much relief. After a session sometimes I felt a little more lose. However, certainly no cure. After another 3 months of this every 3-4 days. I decided I wasn't getting anywhere and needed another appt with the surgeon.
At this appt he still was uncomfortable with surgery and thought there may be another way. So we looked at all angles and decided that more therapy of a different sort as well as a bit of weight loss could make a difference. I was not that over weight but I went from being a very active person to someone with next to no activity because of pain. So naturally I gained a little bit.
So, I went to a type of rehabilitation clinic. It was something I did 5 days a week in the morning for 6 weeks. There was no massage or anything like that. It was simply a matter of having a trainer and she showed me how to live with pain. How to move, bend, twist etc. She showed me how to strenthgen the core (which I strongly believe in for anybody, especailly those of us with back problems). We did weight training, yoga, all sorts of things. I was quite enjoying it even though once I go home I was pretty much done for the day as my pain was through the roof. But I thought it has to get better before it gets worse so I kept going.
I guess you should probably know that my insurance company was the one that was paying for this and of course wanted to rush me through everything. So they decided that because I was making a little progress that they would start making me carry heavy weights and do things I was not comfortable with. The pain was getting worse and worse and I kept telling my trainer that but she didn't care and there were threats that if I didn't co-operate I would lose my benefits etc. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and my doctor stepped in and told them to cut it all off and I scheduled another appt with my surgeon.
It took a couple months to see him so during that time I maintained a regular therapy session each morning (at my home) based on the positive things that I had learnt from my rehab clinic. I walked every morning on the treadmill , I did a lot of excercises for my legs, back and stomach. I did weight lifting and some excercises with the ball. This was all in moderation but I was losing weight and gaining major muscle. Even though I was still in a lot of pain and sometimes more. I was started to feel my legs do more of the work than my back and I just felt lighter on my feet. I was able to move around and know what do do when I sat down to not hurt my back further when I was doing it. It's hard to explain but the building of the muscles is a very important part in regards to our problems. Not only was I hoping to help myself non sugically but I knew that if it came down to it and surgery was absolutely neccesary than I knew I would be better off and stronger than most because of all this hard work.
At my appt the surgeon decided that even though I worked so hard and made such drastic improvements, I could only go so far and I was maxed out. It was time for surgery. I was scheduled for an L5 S1 fusion with autograft form my iliac crest. I was scheduled for January 24th 2006. The date was changed several times but it ended of being on the 26th of this past January. I am now 4 weeks post op.
Now for the month and a half up until my surgery I continued with my at home therapy almost everyday. The surgery was approaching and I got more scared everyday. It had always been a life time fear of mine and I was being forced to conquer it. I was crying all the time but I didn't want to people around me to see it so I felt like I couldn't talk to anyone about it. Anyway I then just got myself excited to get my life back. I hadn't been able to work for 4 years and everything in my life was limited if not gone all together.
Well the day of surgery came and I was surprsignly strong. I didn't cry that much. My surgery was scheduled for 1230pm and I had to be there 2 hours a head of time. During those 2 hours I was kept busy, there was paprer work to fill out, I had to change, do some blood work a urine sample, get an IV going etc. When they finally wheeled me in the OR, everyone was so friendly. There were a lot of them and it was a bit over whellming but it was also very comforting. I was not a wake for long. The anesthesiologist came up to from behind as I layed on the bed and he gave me a mask that I was to breath through. So I took a few breaths got dopey and just remember waking up in the recovery room.
For the first night I was part of a study for a new drug so I had 2 nurses with me all the time. It was actually comforting even though they had to keep bugging me. I remember seeing my family for the first time and knowing that they weren't telling me everything. But I was too doped up to care and knew that I would find out in the morning.
It ended up being a 6 hour surgery and a very complicated one at best. My surgeon was expecting to go in minimally invasive and do a standard fusion with bone from my hip. Well it ended up not being MI because once he made the first incision he saw that there were too many complications. He made an incision about 3 inches long. My nerves we apparantly twisted in knots and all over the place and instead of the "hair lign" fracture that it was suppose to be it was a sorts of little breaks throughout my lumbar region. None of this was seen on any of my tests. So, because of all the extra bone he didn't have to do a bone graft (which was positive). He took the extra bone and did the fusion, he got the screws in but coudn't not get the plate in because I had a nerve that was laying directly across where he needed to go. He untangled all the nerves and cleaned everything up. He decided that to get the plate in he would have to do it the the front through my tummy. So he closed me up. I had been through too much already and decided to finish it would have to be another surgery.
My hospital stay wasn't too bad. I slept most of the time. So my surgery was on a Thursday afternoon at 1230 and I went home on the following Sunday at around noon.
I was in a lot of pain a was extremly swollen in my lower back, I did not reconize my back, it was weird. It took a couple of weeks for it to go down too. So when I got home I knew that I had an appt to see my surgeon and to get my staples out in exactly 2 weeks time. For the first 2 weeks it was rough. I did have a lot of pain however, the best thing of all was that I no longer had the sciatica and no pain in my my feet. I thought the surgery was worth it just for that! I was so happy! So, I was on a lot of meds and was sleeping a lot but for no more than about 2-3 hours at a time. I was able to shower but my incision had to be covered up so it couldn't get wet.
After the first week or so I started to get pain in the left side of my butt. It was familiar pain which I use to experience with my sciatica on the right side. It kept getting worse and spreading throughout my leg and into my foot. I finally saw my surgeon and got the staples taken out.
He was very concerned with my pain and got me in for an x-ray and then 2 ct scans that same morning. He was concerned that a screw was hitting a nerve. There was no obvious sign of that though. So I was given some nerve meds and was sent home for 3 weeks. I now have 1 more week left on these meds and then I see him next friday. The pain he now in my right side just like before and my feet are being affected as well. So that part of it is rather dissapointing. However, it may not be anything to worry about. It could just be that the nerves were manipulated during my sugery and are in the process of recovering.
Anyway, I know that this is really long but trust me this is the quick version of it all. I hope I was able to answer some of your questions. I am definitly here if you have more or if I missed some, which I am sure I did.
As it stands I am happy that I went through with it. I don't have a date for my second surgery as it has been put on the back burner until my nerves get sorted out and I expect to know a lot more next Friday.
I look forward to hearing from you. Kristy.
WowÖ. You are brave especially having to wait that long to get test and even surgery. Knowing the anxiety I get just thinking about having to go to surgery with less than a week to go I feel better from your comment and going through the stages step by step.
Being that you are 4 w post op, can you walk well? Do you need a cane/walker? Are you on major pain meds? Can you sit down for more than 5 minutes?
I know Iím full of questionsÖ. Im just soo curious because Iíve no clue of what Iím getting my self into.
Iíve read a lot of other peoples testimonials in this board about the aftermath of surgery and I keep wanting to second guess my surgery. I feel as if Iím in denial about my issues. I have a limp in my leg at times and pain in my legs and hips. Iíve dealt with this for a long time. Sometimes I feel as if I should just suck it up and deal with it for the rest of my life. The price Iím going to have to pay to be able to walk longer (if it gets cured) will be to not bend and twist for the rest of my life. Am I correct? I want to be able to go bike riding, boating, go on roller coasters with my kids etcÖ. but not sure if this surgery willl allow me. Iíve yet to read anyone who had the surgery do other activites as such and Iím wondering if people are able to or not.
Again, I appreciate your comment. I wish the best to you and your recovery.
Well, you remind me just of myself, exactly. When do you go in for your surgery? You will be fine. Trust me. It's tough, I won't deny that. However, it's worth it. You have to take the chance. The qualitly of life that you have right now is not how it should be. Maybe if you were someone that was inactive and didn't care about doing things then it wouldn't matter. But if you're like me that's not acceptable. I can't wait to go horse back riding again, biking, climbing, running, roller blading and the list goes on.
As far as your questions go. I can walk quite well. If I go out and am going to be walking a fair amount, like, we went to Costco the other day so I took my walker with me. It's not terribly necesarry but it does help a lot. I can't walk around for very long but I do need to get out every now and then so I do. I would say I could manage a casual walk around Costco without pickup anything or stuff like that for about 30 - 45 minutes. I live in Canada so it's kinda cold right now. There's snow everywhere and that makes it even more challenging. It's hard to get around outside because you sure don't want to slip on any ice.
My pain meds. They are higher than they were when I was released and that is only because of my nerve problems. Remember though, my situation is unique. You should not have this problem. The chances are very slim. I will slowly be taken off of them but that won't be for a while, plus I have another surgery coming so that changes things a bit.
As far as sitting go, well it's in moderation. It's easy to over do it. I tend to sit at the computer for longer than I should. But I would say a safe bet at this point would be no more than 15-20 minutes without getting up and walking around and stretching.
Please let me know if I can help you in any other way. I don't mind questions, if I can help you and ease your mind than ithelps me as well. Like I said I come on the boards all the time so I would get back to you rather quickly.
Take care and just keep dreaming about the life after surgery, it's really a beautiful picture.
First, Krystig I read your **** and have been thinking about you. Sorry to hear that your surgery was so complicated and I wish you a continued good recovery.
When I read your stories it reminds me of mine. I am 30 years old and I have had problems since I was 13 - confirmed by xray when 18 years old. I have from time to time had serious back pains but never pain in my legs. I have always been in great shape and been working out my entire life until age 23, and at moderate levels afterwards. I started 2 years ago to work out again, bike riding and running. Started to train for the Marathon BUT THEN IT HAPPENED!!! Everytime when I had been running for 2.5 KM then my left leg fell asleep, and I llost almost all control of the leg. After 10 minutes the feeling was back. It then got worse, everytime I lifted heavy things or even had sex it resulted with me having back pains for 3 days. At times I also felt numbness in he back of my lower left leg.
I started special training with a fysiotherapist (sorry for the spelling I am from Denmark), and that actually helped with the daily numbnes, as I could do some specific strecthes and the numbness disapeared. But that was all, I could not run, ride the bike or other fun stuff
I was then offered surgery, L5-S1 fusion with allocraft, with my own bone from the back of the spine (like in Kristygs case (no hip). The surgery though did not involve any screws or cage. Instead I was to wear a brace or corsage for 3 months. I red a lot about the surgery and the risk was low and the particular surgeon had done these kinds of surgeries for 10 years. I decided to do it.
My surgery was on 29 Nov 2005, in the morning. The surgery took 2 hours, and the surgeon was very satisfied. I had a lot of pain, due to two reasons. Since I always have been an active person then I had very large muscles which suffered since the surgeon had to move these aside during the surgery. Secondly, my epidural was not perfect so my right leg was "dead", so they had to turn the epidural off. The first night my back really hurt, then I got some morfin and it all was fine I was walking already same day as surgery, but just a few meters. The day after it was even better. I could do everything, that did not involve bending. Sitting was a problem and I only sat when eating. I was released two days after surgery.
The first week was tuff, as I was soar in the back, eventhough I walked around at home and then laying in bed with my laptop, tv and books. 5 days after surgery I was off all pain meds, and started to take outside walks for 30 minutes one or twice a day. From my release I was doing small exercise two times daily, this has helped increase the stability of my spine. Two weeks after surgery my walks were for no less than an hour. Let me say I was doing great. Then I started to sit more and more, BANG it back fired!!!! so to speak
Suddenly I had numbness in my heel, back of my knee or back thigh depending if I was laying down, sitting or walking. It has stayed with me from time to time, and actually two weeks ago it was the worst ever. Currently I do not have any issues. I have been told that the numbness is most probably internal wounds located close to my nerves, and during the heeling process they will disturb the nerves. Hopefully they are right and it will go away. I then stopped sitting for longer periods of time.
On tuesday I am going for my check-up, and I feel very well.
I have already decided to start at work on Wednesday. 10 days ago i started to sit for longer periods of time. I can now without problems sit for a whole day, and have no pain at all. Now I am optimistic, and looking forward to my checkup.
It is difficult for me to state what your expectations should be. Ōf you are in good physical shape then I think that it will be easier, eventhough my muscles was swallen for 2 months. For now I am satisfied, but my true test will be when I start running in a month or so. I will report to you again.
I hope that my "little" story has helped you, if you have any questions, I will answer them.
I was just thinking of you. I wanted to know where you are at. Have you decided to go ahead with surgery? Do you have a date set? Or have you had it yet? Just wondering how you are doing so please get back to me when you have a minute. Take care of yourself. Kristy.
Thanks for the response. How is everything going for you now?
What was your surgery called?
How come you didn't get screws?
Did you have spondylothesis?
I'm so curious because lately for the past 2 days when walking about 10-15 steps my leg gets limp. I cant even walk up the stairs correctly. my left leg can lift me up the stairs but when it comes to my right leg... I have to hold the rail. My leg gets limp.
Besides being a scardy cat about getting the surgery.....I am terrified of getting screws in my back. I've read other post on this bulletin and found that some people who've had screws and were allergic to them.... got the screws tooken out a year or soo later after surgery and are doing fine. For me... I dont want screws and hoping there is a way of getting my nerve decompressed with out the screws left in my back.
Hi.... thanks for the concern. I had a date of March 3rd. However, besides chickening out, I got really ill. I had a fever for a week and didnt get over it till March 5th.
I decided to try and work out and stre\ghten my back and maybe get injections, oral steroids etc.
but lately, I've been getting a limp leg at times when I walk. So, I may need to reconsider the dam surgery. Shucks.
Thanks again for the concern. that is sweet of you.
I have(had) spondylothesis, and my surgery was a spinal fusion with allocraft or bone craft (see it at [url]www.swarminteractive.com/products_licensing.shtml[/url], pick Spine, and then Spinal Fusion). Meaning that the surgeon broke of my "loose" part of the spine, choped it up in smaller items and carefully placed them on the back of the spine. This would then form fusion of the item where I had spondylothesis. Using this approach the surgeon did not need to take bone from my hip.
Regarding the screws then since I was relatively young (30) the surgeon offered me the possibility of not having screws in my spine, and instead I should wear a brace (corsage) at all times, and only taking it off in bed and in the shower when standing straight. The surgeon informed me that this was just as effective an approach, but it required me to keep out of any twisting or bending situations.
I can finally tell you that I am doing very well. I have started at work and I only have experienced mild pains at times. My employer has provided my with two special chairs and a table that I can raise, so I can work standing. This has really been a help for me.
I have though at times the feeling of numbnes in the back of my knee, I hope that it will go away over time. When having the surgery I read that there was a 10-15% chance that one could get a numb leg, like what you describe that you have now. If one got this "numb leg" then there was a 70% chance that it would go away within a year. I think that with the syrgery then there is a slight chance that some nerves are affected. I hope that my numbnes which is not persistant will eventually go away. I am planning to start bicycling next week, so I will be looking forward to that. It will be interesting to see if the numbness is worse when I exercise. I hope not.
CH, I am very sorry to hear that you get a numb leg just by walking. That is much more worse than mine, as I only had it when running. My thoughts go to you, and hope that you are well. If you decide to have the surgery then be optimistic, it almost cannot get any worse than it is now.
Sorry, I haven't been on the board in a while and didn't get your messages.
You know I understand the anxiety that you are experiencing with surgery. Have you talked with your doctor in regards to this? They may be able to give you something to relax before hand. I figure it's worth a shot. The main question you have to ask yourself right now is: "Is this the quality of life for me?" I think you and I know the answer to that.
Yes, I have spondylolisthesis, with numerous broken bones in the lumbar region, sciatica and lumbar lordosis. I have 4 screws and 2 rods in my back. They are very small. My doctor will leave them in for life unless there is an unforseen problem. He will also be putting a plate in for extra stability. I don't think you realize how good you will more than likely feel after the surgery. Your whole life could change. Isn't it worth it?!
You have to be fully comfortable with your decision but to help you along I think you should talk with your doctor. Talk to your family and friends and just make a final decision and stick with it. You deserve better than this and keep in mind with time your situation could get worse. You need to be pro-active. Take care of yourself. Good luck and let me know what you decide and if you have anymore questions. Kristy.
i have grade 2-3 spondylolisthesis. i'm 17 now but i found out about it when i started having problems with it two summers ago.. i started havin pain in my hip and down my leg. it would be so bad sometimes i could only walk for a couple minutes and then i'd have to sit down cuz the pain would be so bad. i went to the doctor cuz my dad has spondylolisthesis to and he thought thats what it might have been.. after the dr told me what was wrong with me i went to physical theropy for bout 3 months, but i didnt do things like i was suppose to, so i'm not sure how much that helped me... as of today, bout 2 years later i still havent gotten surgery despite my dr. pushin for me to get it so it wouldnt slip further. the pain in my leg has gone away, i'm not sure how but i'm not gonna argue with it.. all i really did was go for lots of walks even when it hurt to... my back still bothers me everyday, but nothing like it use to. i still cant lay on my back or stomach cuz it bothers me, and after playing sports and other such things my back hurts pretty good, acouple months ago it hurt so bad i couldnt walk.. but it was only one really bad day in months and i can live with that.. the pain going down my leg was what was the unbareable part, but thats not a problem now.. things are much better now and i dont plan on gettin surgery till i atleast graduate or till i have no choice but to get it..
but i was just wondering if surgery was 100% necessary.. cuz there are lots of other things that you can do.. i think u said u tried steriod shots. i never did that but my dad had them done, i dont think it helped him much either.. did you try physical theropy?.. usually a grade 1 and 2 can be helped wtih physical theropy, they teach you ways to help with the pain going down your legs that you talked about.. surgery should really be a last resort
well i prolly didnt help ya much cuz u were askin bout people who got surgery and i havent.. but i do have spondylolisthesis so i thought i'd just tell ya that theres other ways to help with it besides surgery.. and there are ways to help wtih the pain going down your legs.. maybe ur case it different but physical theropy usually can help..
It sounds as though you have a tough time with your spondy. Although I suppose at the same time you seem to be able to live a pretty normal life. If you can play sports and get through a day of school then I think you should hold off on the surgery. Definitly surgery is a last resort and if therapy helps you in anyway, do as much as you can. I am a strong believer in staying as active as you can and to keep challenging yourself. Now when I say challening yourself I don't mean to push too much through the pain. You have to, to a certain extent and only you know your body so you have to be the judge but it's imperative that you listen to your doctors/therapists restrictions.
I would monitor yourself very closely and maybe keep a "pain" diary. Include what you did throughout your day and rate your pain and what medication you had to take. It can be a really good tool to have and especially to take to doctors appts.
Keep regular doctors appointements and try to keep up with the therapy. I did a lot of therapy throughout the years and even though I ended up in surgery I know that without the therpay I would have been worse off. If you end up in surgery sometime down the road you will be much better off being as strong physically as you can be.
Surgery is not 100% necesary and I hope you can avoid it all together but, don't forget to take care of yourself in the meantime. As soon as your symptoms change or you notice any difference than you should make a doctors appt right away.
Take care and good luck to you. I'm hear if you need a hand or anything.
I have/had spondylothesis also and had an operation in 2000 when I was 16/17. Before that if I did any exercise I couldn't walk after. I played football for a local team and it got to the stage where I'd have to go off after 5 minutes and even telling my dad on the way home to drive slowly because each lump in the road was hell for me.
My operation involves two large screws to reconnect the broken vertebrate and bone graphing from my hip (which has been kind of numb since).
Six years after operation my back still gives me a lot of grief. Instead of a sharp crippling pain it's become a constant grumbling pain which I've learnt to live with. It now feels better with the more exercise I do and hurts if I don't (so the opposite to how it was), yet after walking for long periods of time it really starts to pound. my Doctor wants to take the metalwork but no more operations for me until I have my life more in order.