I have been dealing with back pain for a year and 4 months now. I am 29 years old. It came on suddenly just before Christmas of 07. While I always had backaches after walking around for long periods or doing certain exercises this was the first time I couldn’t even do anything. I had to call in sick to work and my husband had to help me get changed. After about 3 or 4 months I went to see a chiropractor. He sent me for x-rays and the report did not note anything significant. The chiropractic care seemed to help, made it a little more manageable.
Fast forward to August of 08, pain came back and it was worse then it was in the beginning of the year – when rising from sitting I would have to hold onto something before I could start walking. I went to see my MD who sent me for an MRI. It came back with Grade I spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1, degenerative spondylosis, bilateral pars defects (which 2 dr’s have told me they don’t think is healed), mild central canal stenosis and a bulging disc that contacts my S1 nerve. He sent me to a neurosurgeon. The neuro said he would like to try some conservative treatments first but that he thinks my condition is only going to get worse and that eventually I will have sciatica down my left leg as well as the right. I tried PT for 2.5 months, it helped some and at times I was almost pain free but just before Christmas 08 the pain started coming back. The PT said towards the end of therapy that I should not go in reverse. I went back to my neuro and we scheduled a steroid injection. That helped for about 24 hours and then the pain was even worse then it was before the shot. The sciatica now goes down to my ankle rather than just to my knee. So last week I went to an orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. They took new x-rays and came in and said the news is not good and that I can make the decision to live with the pain, depending on how much it affects my quality of life or decide to get surgery.
My back pops or shifts almost every time I stand up, it popped while I was in the ortho’s office and they heard it, which is why they think the pars is not healed. I am having trouble rising from standing again, one of the ladies in my office calls me elderly. When I first start walking my gait is noticeably different and people in the office comment on it. Usually the sciatica pain is stabbing but recently it has turning into a burning sensation in my thigh area. I can’t walk long distances, I can clean the house but after an hour or two I have to take pretty much the rest of the day off. I have trouble turning around to back out of the driveway. I can’t hike anymore and I love hiking. I recently went anyway cause I had family in town – I paid for it with almost 2 days of back pain, had to take 3 ibuprofens to help.
But then since I am good at ignoring the pain (I refuse to let it stop me from doing things) and I am not on pain meds, I don’t have tingling or weakness in my legs and I am only a Grade 1 it makes me feel that I shouldn’t be a candidate for surgery. But I know I can’t live on ibuprofen forever. I want to have kids. I go back to my neuro next Friday to talk about surgery. I have about 2 pages worth of questions to ask him. So I guess I just want your opinions. The ortho, the neuro and a friend that is a surgeon have all said surgery. A family member said I should go back to the chiro – but that kind of scares me, to have him adjusting my back when the pars are broken, what are your thoughts on this?