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Old 10-11-2007, 12:52 AM   #1
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Cool L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

im 37 and very active, mostly road biking. ive had a few bouts with lower back pain since i was 19 (serving during tennis, felt like i pulled something badly in the low back). i had a major incident 3.5 yrs ago while sanding a wall. prior to this major incident, i had this kind of injury maybe 6 times previously my entire life. after about a day i was back to normal. when it happened 3.5 yrs ago, i was in the bed basically for 2 days. since then, i've been living with chronic back pain. until recently i didnt really know what was going on. after trying a lot of things, i entered a chiropractic study where i saw a chiro 15 min a day/ 3 days per week. i had 18 total visits. they had to do an xray first and they said L4-L5 spondylethesis. i dont know much more than that because they're not suppose to share much info with me because its a study. i was glad to have some kind of diagnosis - i knew nothing specific prior. (i dont have good health insurance and will be unemployed soon, hence the lack of a doctor's attention).

my pain comes and goes, and i cant predict it. i dont have pain in my legs. my pain centers right above my butt and spreads to either side to the hips and to the butt.

ive tried lots of things - acupuncture but for only 2 sessions, core exercises, yoga, chiro, PT, i had one doctor's visit almost a yr ago (nothing came of it - my insurance wasn't paying - preexisting condition). maybe i should try some deep tissue massage? i have the most faith in the core stuff and i pay dearly after yoga. bending forward - straight legs - touching toes is painful. flexibility is pretty poor. sleeping is a problem now. enough ibuprofen takes the pain away.

i used to have hope that i would be back to normal - no pain - but starting to doubt that now. doing a little bit of the depression thing. i cant jump in a car and head to the mtns and hike. ive become somewhat limited in the activities i can do.

i just wanted to post, im brand new. ive been reading some old posts and my heart goes out to some of the cases ive read. if anyone wants to let me in on something ive missed from other posts, i would be grateful. thanks!!!!

 
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Old 10-11-2007, 10:36 AM   #2
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

I was diagnosed with spondylolysthesis in 2004, did okay with occasional pain and general aching in my right leg. Acupuncture took care of the ache in my leg after a few visits, chiropractor made my condition worse (from 7 mm to 9mm slip of vertebrae). My first visit to surgeon said "see me when you can't stand it any longer" in 2004.

I was doing fine until 2006 when a long session of gardening gave me extruciating pain in my back off and on for a couple of months. I'm a teacher - went back to work in September, but started having more frequent attacks. By December I was missing work every couple of weeks for two or more days (I'm a teacher and subs were being called in at last minute - not good for kids). I finally started the process of getting the surgery with the urging of my family and went on long term disability in mid-December.

I had begun really doing my physiotherapy stretches and exercises twice a day religiously, and by July I had no pain and was able to do all the things I couldn't do before that (lifting, carrying, bending, etc.) - so much so that I began having doubts about the surgery - but too late to change anything.

I had my spinal fusion (L4,L5,S1) two weeks ago. I have no pain in my back, but some of the aching has returned in my right leg (doc says because of swelling after the surgery and will go away). I am walking about 1-2 km/day outside besides around the house. I am up from about 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. I wear a corset with metal stays around my backbone during the day. I am not sorry for having the surgery, but I firmly believe in really doing the physio and core work religiously before hand - it changed my quality of life dramatically. (I am 57 yrs old).

 
Old 10-11-2007, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

thanks brideb for your input

 
Old 10-12-2007, 04:20 AM   #4
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

Well, what is important to find out is if it is actively moving, which they find out through flextion and extention xrays, and also the degree of the slip. I would personally not let a chiropractor near my spine. i had fusion for spondy six months ago. I also had severe stages of degenerative disc disease but when you read the chart, the reason for surgery says spondyolethesis.

If I were you, I would get opinions from a spine specialist and not let a chiropractor touch you.

This chiro subject is a huge debate here just to warn you, we all have our opinions. But mine is that our spine pretty much controls our whole bodys, every nerve is in it, and I personally do not want someone who can't even prescribe a pain pill or medicine (not even a doctor) to touch my spine. When it comes to my spine, I want the top spine specialist and that's it, not even an MD is going to "adjust" it etc. Sometimes things can't be undone ya know. Sometimes damage that happens can't be reversed, so I would really think about getting this looked into. Go to a teaching hospital or somewhere that you can get the help you need.

Best of luck to you.

 
Old 10-12-2007, 10:22 AM   #5
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

[B]Bikeseven - Yup we were all very active at one point until these stinkin back problems , I was 37 when I injured my back at work , I jumped from a Big truck trailer carrying a box full of garbage cans snapping my Par's allowing my vertebra to slip forward just to a level one spondylolisthesis , I couldn't imagine the pain from a worse slippage. I tried epidurals /PT and then a Laminectomy /Fusion of my L4-L5 and went down hill ever since , no more repelling/ hiking/ or anything physical for me .. BUT everyone is different so don't let me put you down any ... I tend to talk about the horrors than the good outcomes so forgive me. I'm sure you'll find alot of great information on your problem here . Good luck and welcome to the boards of knowledge .

Shawley [/B]

 
Old 10-23-2007, 10:12 PM   #6
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

i am a canadian too living in vegas. also 57years old. i get worse from just doing water therapy exercises nothing too much. only do ok when i do just a little walking any kind of exercising causes extreme pain the next day. doc wants to do a fusion, sounds like your results were pretty good. gives hope that maybe surgery is not such a bad idea. been off work since 9/11/07 cant sit very long,or walk very far either.best relief is when lying down. force myself to walk a little every day. meds ultram and ibufropen not really helping the pain. some days are bad some are tolerable.quality of life is very poor

Last edited by susan89122; 10-24-2007 at 09:50 PM. Reason: cancel this was supposed to a reply to another post

 
Old 10-24-2007, 05:20 AM   #7
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

bridb...I have almost the identical diagnosis and I too did stretches and exercised before surgery. It went as well as expected but now, in spite of my prep. work, I seem to be getting worse. Walking for short periods, then rest, sit for short periods, then rest...seems like half of my day is rest. LOL
Now my spine doctor wants to do rods and screws. I'm balking. I've heard about the edidural shots but he says he doesn't think that will help me. I'm in the decision phase now. I surely hope yours isn't getting worse. Are you back to excersising ? Thanks.

 
Old 10-24-2007, 01:30 PM   #8
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

I had a my L5-S1 fusion done Sept 21,2206. The surgery did not work for me. I am in more pain now then before. I have not been to work since the surgery and right now it looks like I will not be going back. I am 34 years old and I am going for a second surgery in November. I have done 6 epidural shots and also had selective nerve injection. None of that worked. I can not sit,stand or walk for long periods of time. I finally went for a second opinion and found out that my nerve at the fusion site is being crushed. So now they are going to go in and try to free up the nerve. This may work it may not. But it is worth a try. I take neurotin and pain killers and I also have to take a sleeping pill at night because the pain gets so bad. Please seek a second opinion. I am happy that I did. My first doctor who I stuck with for over 2 years was ready to declare me MMI. That I will have to live with the pain. He also did not see on all of my MRI's the crushed bone around the nerve. The new doctor did (He is the Chief of surgery for UMDNJ) I am lucky that I found him. Hopefully at the end of November I will beable to feel my left foot again and that I can get some of my life.

 
Old 10-24-2007, 06:16 PM   #9
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

I had a fusion done in 1993 for spondylolysthesis. At the time I had it done I had frequent pain so it was the right decision for me. I do have some back pain now that I'm trying to figure out - it may be the hardware in my back and it may be time for it to come out.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:44 PM   #10
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Re: L4-L5 spondylethesis - looking for general input to my condition

thanks again for those of you that have shared their experiences. ive come to realize that although my condition has made my life more difficult, i cant get over how my story pales in comparison. the spine is definitely a tricky thing and doctors have a long long way to go.

since my first post, my back has been a little better. its very hard for me not to be active. lately i've used ibuprofen (about 1400 mg a day) to keep me active.

as far as doctors go, im going to look for a spine doctor to give me more input. but i definitely dont want surgery!

good luck to all of you back sufferers.

 
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