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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I'm 24 years old and I have Grade 1 Spondylolisthesis in my L-5 and S-1. I have seen 2 neurosurgeons and they both say that I need to have a spinal fusion surgery. I am missing a pars and I now have a herniated disc. The MRI showed that my nerves on my right side are being squeezed. I'm doing physical therapy 3 times a week and attending a water aerobics class twice a week. I am still having pain in my lower back and pain all the way down my right leg and in my feet. Sometimes it feels like I have needles in my feet and that wakes me up occasionally. I'm going back to my neurosurgeon next month for a check up and a CT scan.

I'm a bit nervous, but I'm trying to stay strong.
I'm just hoping you guys can tell me what to expect and give me some advice. Most importantly I'd like some support.

Thank you!


  • Hiya >:D< , Welcome to Spine Health >:D< , you will certainly have suport here :) , we are one big family O:) , and remember now you have found us you are not alone >:D< you can always just come even if its to vent out to people who have the same or simular problems as yourself :) . I wanted to give my imput for a reason........ :? i was doing PT once a week and was in severe pain :''( , my doctor told me to stop :O , he said it was my bodys way of telling me to stop :? , like an alarm clock going off :) . Everyone is different, and i do understand we have to do exercise when we have the sort of problems we have :< . What i am saying to you is :? , do you think by doing the PT 3 times a week and the water areobics twice a week that it may be agrivating your problems you have :''( . If you are in pain :''( , then go and see your doctor and tell him what you have told us here :? , and see what he says :B . Remember also with water areobics :) , you are not really aware of the muscles you work on , until maybe the next day or hours later :? . I remember trying that once :))( , and i couldnt even tie my shoe laces =)) , and this was before all the problems i have now :D . Let me know how you get on :) , PM me if you want to. >:D<

    Angie :H
  • You've come to a great web site. Lots of support here in the forums and the chat room. I had spondylolisthesis L4/5. Fusion is treatment of choice when all conservative therapy fails. You also take the risk of permanent nerve damage if not treated. I had horrible spasms that would keep me awake for several days, would go away, and then just the slightest wrong move and they'd come back. I could barely walk 10 feet, ended up with horrible urinary incontinence and a "dead" right foot. All that disappeared after my fusion. It did take me a long time to recover, but I also am older and have rheumatoid arthritis complicating things. I agree with Lulu that maybe you should slow down just a bit with the PT and water aerobics to see if things will calm down for you. Good to hear too that you have consulted 2 neurosurgeons. Keep us posted on how you do and again welcome to SH.

  • Hey, Turtleypoo. A Google alert for "spondylolisthesis" brought me to this page. I've lived with my Grade 1, L5/S1 spondy for 32 years: diagnosed in 1977. Still bouncing and dragging along. I've been a double fusion candidate for each and every one of those years. The acute phases are a major drag, but I can usually climb out with conservative care: chiropractic, ice/heat, exercise, massage, diet, etc. My best years were directly after a treatment I researched, enjoyed, and have recommended: prolotherapy. It worked for me. I'm rarely without pain or discomfort of some kind, and if a less invasive surgical option comes along, I'm game. So, if you can make it through this acute phase: the inflammation retreats, you strengthen your back and your abs, you alter your gait, your lifestyle, your expectations, etc. You could be ok. I played soccer for another 13 years; still ride a bike all over, can play with my 70 lbs kid. But: I don't stay on my feet long, if I can help it, and I avoid long walks. Good luck! And don't despair, though I know that's easy to say: the bad days cloud everything, all loves and affections are tinged with haze, everything hurts, advice can add to the pain rather than ameliorate.
  • Thanks for the support and advice. My pain has increased by quite a bit since I went to the neurosurgeon in July. Thankfully he isn't the type of surgeon that wants to just jump in and cut me open, but he did want me to do 3 months of physical therapy and get active in order to strengthen my abs.

    The therapy seems to be helping me with my hamstrings and such. I know that my problem can not be fixed with physical therapy. Water aerobics hurt my entire body after the first class, but after the second class it felt really good. I even feel energized after going. It's worth a second try.

    I usually have to take a pain pill every night before bed, or else I wake up in pain. I have very busy schedule. I'm a senior in college and I work. The thought of having severe nerve damage scares me. My right leg is getting worse and I do not want to lose feeling in it.

    How long is the recovery period after the spinal fusion? How long are you usually in the hospital? Is the pain AWFUL? Keep the comments/advice/support coming! : )
  • depends on the person and whether they do the surgery from the front or back. I've had both 6 months apart and I couldn't tell much difference. I think the anterior (thru the stomach) was a little more to deal with. I kept having fluid buildup and draining from the incision. Never got infected though. Surgery posteriorly (thru the back) has it's weirdness too. I was in more pain when I woke up from the posterior surgery. I had tons of spasms. With the anterior I was in 4 days, with the posterior 3 days. I went back to work after 8 weeks with the ALIF and 9 weeks with the PLIF. After the first week of surgery, the pain is better, but sleeping was hard. I am still stiff and have some hip ache, but I had a cage shift out making a bulge.

    My spondy was at L3/4 and I felt like I was not connected well when I walked, like things were too loose. The pain was like a knife when I walked, stood and shifted my legs, bent over, etc. It just got worse and worse. It started when I carried something heavy or bent over a lot picking up limbs in the yard or gardening and just got worse over the last 4 years or so.

    Good luck with your decision. If it were me and I could stand the pain and aggravation, I'd finish college first as long as your surgeon thinks you can wait a bit. Sitting in classes wouldn't be too fun after a back surgery. You could carry a cushion, but still sitting for period of time hurts after. I'm sure you are having that now too.

  • gwennie17gwennie17 Posts: 2,957
    edited 06/17/2016 - 2:09 PM
    There is a relatively new procedure called an Axial-IF that is available only for the L5-S1 segment of the spine. You can read about it here: http://www.smallincisionsbigresults.com/about/&nbsp;

    Not all surgeons are trained in this procedure yet, and of course, if you decided to look into it, you would want to find one who had a great deal of experience with it.

    With spondylolisthesis, spine surgeons will tell you that the only treatment for the problem is a fusion. But many people learn to live with the condition and do not need surgery for many years.

    In my case, the nerve compression become unbearable. I waited over three years before having surgery because I kept thinking there had to be a more modern way around the problem than fusion!! But there was not, nor were there any on the near horizon, so I finally bit the bullet and had it done. I wish I had done it sooner. My nerve pain has not resolved yet. But I believe I am on the verge of a big breakthrough and will know in a couple weeks if the specific cause of it has been determined.

    This is a big decision. The surgery is tough...well, I don't know about the Axial-IF...but all other types of fusion are tough and the recovery is long. The timing will not go along with senior year in college. It is not something you do over winter break and are back to normal in a matter of weeks!!! Taking a semester off would be more like it, and even then, that could be rushing it, depending on how things go.

    Good luck in your decision. Careful surgeon selection is of the utmost importance. Fusion is not to be taken lightly -- without a great deal of thought and consideration. It is a life-changing procedure.

    xx Gwennie
  • Hi, Gwennie17. Thanks for the link to Axial-IF: I'm interested, but I can't find proof on their site that it's applicable to spondylolisthesis. Do you know?

    I received an alert about FDA approval of this: http://www.medicrea.com/version_us/produit_thora.php?lg=us&rub=1&partie=2&sspartie=0 for spondy care. I have to plug into the ortho world again.
  • I'm going to see the neurosurgeon in the morning. I'm hoping he has some answers for me.
  • I am 26 and have a grade 2 spondi of the L5 vertebrae. I have put off the surgery for years, and now i am finally talking to a neurosurgeon. I have a bunch of questions,too, mainly about the recovery time and complications. But i have noticed, going back to the original post, that many exercises lead to spasms and neurological problems. I am at the point now that I cant really exercise at all. This is not easy for me as I have a physical job I can barely do and love hiking/backpacking. So maybe it would benefit you to ease up on the exercise? Hope you get a treatment that gives you the best results.
  • I had fusion surg. just 4 mos. ago. I am doing well but
    I still have discomfort alot. My advice is to find the
    best doctor you can and get another opinion. (maybe from an orthopaedic doctor. I work in the medical field and believe me - if you are going to think about
    surgery - you need the best. You are your own advocate.
    I am 59 yrs. old but if I had been younger I might have
    waited a little longer and tryed some more PT. Not all
    PT's are created equal. I did back exercises and biked and walked before I had the operation to keep my back
    feeling pretty well. My legs were going completely numb so I had to have surgery. The biggest point is
    fine someone in the medical field to point you to the right people., After that -you say a prayer and hope for the best. I am looking forward to at least riding a bike in a couple months and maybe down the road - kayaking on a river. Good Luck Raygirl
  • I had a PLIF done for my pars deft on the L5S1 about a month ago. I still have burning feet pain. The doctor tells me that the nerves are damaged so it could take a while for the foot burning pain to go away. Has anybody here had the same issue and how long did it take before the foot pain went away?
  • pattymoo52ppattymoo52 Posts: 1
    edited 08/05/2015 - 10:56 PM
    two yrs ago I had L3-4L4-5 fusion and multiple laminectomies have been in pain since I now have spondylolisthesis L5-S1 and I believe Si joined dysfunction although has not been confirmed by a series of lidocaine injections I am interested in Phototherapy anyone have this injections thanks to all ?

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  • and I'm 77 soon. For me I'd never do a fusion. I do special exercises for spondy and all OA I deal with and cleaning up and living with a "botched" hip replacement. A chiro taught me special spondy exercises and you can find them online.
    Bodywide OA, Fibro and complications from Hip Replacement.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    With your previous surgeries and continued pain, I would talk with my doctor before doing any exercises.

    With your description of treatments, it seems you are seeing a specialist. That is good.

    I am not familiar with the phototherapy you mentioned.
    It may benefit you to use the __search__ on this site, upper right on page.
    Just type in your concerns, and you may be led to older posts, articles and or videos that may be helpful to you!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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