Thanks for the forum. It's really helpful to read through your posts, see I'm not the only one with back problems.
I got to this 'bad back' diagnosis in a really backward (no pun intended) way. About 18 months ago I started having 'strange' pains in my quadriceps and calves. Bounced around to several doctors with no diagnosis. One thought I might have MS, another muscle disease. Eventually I met with an orthopedic surgeon. He snapped an x-ray of my lumbar spine, said it didn't look too good and ordered an MRI.
A week later I went back to get the results. I'll never forget the Doc walking into the room, report in hand. His face was grim, he said, "I have some bad news..." he began to read form the report, "... congenital stenosis, severe stenosis at L2-3 and L4-5 (70-80%), completely smashed disk L5-S1... (okay, he didn't really say smashed, but it is) arthritis, degenerative...bla bla bla"
As he read I kept thinking, this is great, finally I know what's wrong. why my legs hurt, why I can't run anymore, why I can barely walk.
It didn't take long though for the jubilation to fade. Although I knew what was wrong, NOW I HAD TO GET IF FIXED! And I hoped that didn't mean surgery.
I met with a top neurosurgeon at Stanford. He walked into the room holding my MRI, he glanced at it one more time then said, "You need surgery." He recommended a laminectomy to decompress the spine. I had a second opinion. No luck, same recommendation.
Anyway, long story but here's where I am. Scheduled for a laminectomy July 7th (4 days... bite nails). I anticipate an easy operation and quick recovery. (positive thinking... cross fingers) I'll let you all know how it goes.