I was wondering if anyone could give me some input. I had a laminectomy in 2003, laminectomy in 2004, L3-4 spinal fusion in October of 2006, and an L4-5 spinal fusion in March of 2008. I was virtually pain-free by last summer, 4 months out from surgery, I was weaning off the narcotics, almost down to 1 per day, jogging on treadmill, etc… In late November/early December I started with symptoms again; mainly low back pain, mostly left sided with one spot over and down from incision site that is like a stabbing, and left leg pain in calf. I have burning pain in my hips. I had an MRI (2 weeks ago) which showed everything from surgeries to be stable. It shows severe degenerative disk at L5-S1 (he mentioned central to left side) actually when looking at the film you cannot even see anything where nucleus is supposed to be. He also said endplate erosion, osteophytes, etc. When I read the MRI report I felt like the radiologist who read it only focused on surgery sites, trying to see where leg pain could be coming from. Nothing mentioned about my back pain. Pain Clinic doctor told me that yes I have bone-on-bone, which can cause pain, but he thinks it may just be a flare, perhaps some stress fractures at site of bone grafts. I don’t think that is the case.
I guess I just wanted someone else who has been through all of this stuff to give me some input. I think my pain is coming from the lower disk where it is bone touching bone. Meanwhile I am back up on my pain meds, which to say the least is the most frustrating part for me, as my goal all along was to rid myself of these. Does anyone have an opinion on whether it would be reasonable to ask my neurosurgeon to look at the MRI and give me his opinion on where he thinks my pain may be emanating from? I have always been told that the bottom three disks were severely degenerated. I feel like because the MRI did not show a definitive herniation that the pain doctor thinks I shouldn't be in pain. He noted that I do have the bone on bone but the neurosurgeon would be hesitant to do fusion on a 3rd level because of my age (42). I have been through so much now that I would rather have the 3rd level fixed then suffer along for another year or two only to ultimately end up having it fused. I had a taste of normalicy, virtually pain-free four months out from surgery, and now I feel like I'm almost back to the beginning. Any advice would be so appreciated.