Recently I posted I was inoperable, and the surgeon I delt with was, shall we say, not too pleasant. I never really got the true reason. So today I saw a pain management specialist (which by the way is good friends with the surgeon, but has a much better bed side manor
), and he explained things a little more. He said that surgeons (especially in AZ since malpractice is a HUGE issue) will not operate just to relieve pain. There must be something really wrong. In my case, I have DDD with minor nerve root compression. I do not have a slipped vertebrae or spinal stenosis, or anything like that. I asked him why then was I in so much pain? He said because the disks themselves had little pain receptors, and that radiates the pain throughout my back. And the nerve root compression, although mild, is causing the sciatica. He said that the risk of injury is so high with a fusion (bladder/bowel issues, paralysis, etc.) that surgeons will not operate to fix pain alone. I guess that does make sense. However, he does want to try another epidural, and if that does not work, he wants me to get yet another surgical opinion. He did agree with me that the pain is warranted (I know it is, but it helps to have the validation that someone understands how painful it is), and that we should try to do what we can do to make it better. There is also the issue of fusing my L5 S1, which then will put pressure on the rest of my lumbar area which is also showing signs of degeneration.
He also recommended a procedure where they inject the disk directly. He said this is a very painful procedure, but could provide me up to a year of pain free living. Don't know how I feel about that though.
Have any of you had that done? If so, what was it like?
Any way, I am just living day by day with this, and I hope the epidural does provide some relief. We will see!!!