Well, I have been reading on this site for quite a while but never posted. Like most people I am looking for answers and trying to decide what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.
I am a 49 yr old guy. I have been active all my life including playing college baseball, competitive volleyball and running, weightlifting, hiking - you name it. After my kids came along I became a little less active but still kept up a regular exercise routine. I am otherwise very healthy and not overweight. In other words trying to do everything right.
When I was 16 and 17 during baseball season I developed very bad sciatic pain in my right hip and leg. To make a long story short, with rest and a good chiro, I recovered. I have had off and on basic stiffness in my lower back over the years but nothing a good hot shower and a couple of Advil could not take care of.
About 1.5 years ago, I noticed that I could not stand for long periods of time without my lower back getting VERY stiff and painful. Once again, sitting down would make it all better. It would bother me on and off until December 2008 when I decided to go back to a local chiro who had a good reputation. Basically he was not helping me much and after one particular session (Jan 21st), I seemed a good bit worse the next day. I quit going to him. My family doc suggested I get an MRI which I did on Feb 4. I saw a neurosurgeon shortly after and he said (as the chiro did) that I have a grade 2 spondolo between L5 and S1. He recommended PLIF and basically no other hope of trying anything else. I have gotten gradually worse since seeing him and now am at a point where I cannot walk upright without lots of pain and stiffness. I look like a hunched over old man. I have a job where I sit all day (thankfully). I do as little walking as possible. My pain and stiffness go away almost as soon as I sit down. I have no problems sleeping or not much. I can ride a bike for hours with no pain. But standing and walking are very painful.
I decided to go see a OS for a second opinion last week. He said too early to talk about surgery but if he did do the surgery he would do anterior and posterior, where the NS said he would do PLIF only.
The OS is sending me for an injection next week followed by PT to see if that helps and said to see me in 8 weeks.
I would like to stay away from surgery if possible but recognize that it might be the only way. I have some questions for anyone who cares to chime in.
1. Would inversion tables help any? I tried one in a store the other day and it actually did help for a few minutes but I wonder if daily use would help me.
2. I understood why the OS said he would do anterior and posterior fusion as opposed to just posterior, but is one really any better than the other?
3. Will continue to keep walking like I am cause further problems with nerves or muscles since I am so bent over?
Sorry for the length of this, but I have many other questions and am very frustrated. I know my wife is as she has to do almost everything around the house including all the yardwork along with everything else a mom with two kids has to do. Currently she is not working outside the home so she has time for it.
I just don't want to jump into surgery without trying everything else. I can live like this but don't want to be this way forever.