I know nobody can tell me what I should do but I could really use some input right now. I have had back problems for years and had a diskectomy/laminectomy x2 on L5S1 back in 2001 and was pain free until the pain came back in 2006. Since then I have done spinal decompression which helped for awhile, PT/massage/accupuncture which also gives just some temporary relief for a couple of months but then things flare back up again.
In the past my flare would be the typical sciatic pain down the legs which you all know is miserable, but for the last few months my pain is different in that I don't have the shooting pains (Thank God) going down the legs but more of an aching/soreness/burning only in spots on the legs (butt/back of thigh/calf) that is really bad when standing/walking, not as bad sitting, and is relieved when laying down. My muscles are always tight and knotted and that is what my PT works on and after a session all feels good the rest of that day but is back the next day. I have been seeing my regular neuro yearly since he did my surgeries in 2001.
When things flared up again in 2006 he told me that I would eventually need fusion but put it off as long as possible because it would probably cause me more problems in the future by putting more strain on the upper levels and mine are already not great. I do have DDD, stenosis, and according to my last MRI a herniated disk at L4-L5 and L5-S1 impinging on the nerve roots. I go back to my neuro next month but I did speak to him and he told me things haven't changed much and fusion would still be my only option. When I saw him last year and he told me he would do an ALIF rather than a PLIF because he has much better results with this type of surgery and the recovery time is better and easier.
Now fast forward to last week, I decided I would get a couple of other opinions so I saw another neuro and an ortho spine specialist and that is where the confusion comes in. The new neuro I saw told me things are pretty much bone on bone and he would do a PLIF fusion. When I told him that my neuro had said he recommended an ALIF fusion but to hold off as long as possible this neuro sat there a minute and said "now that you mention it an ALIF would be a better way to go". (Who's the Dr. here?) He went out of the room and just started scheduling everything but I told his nurse I would let them know. He is a very good surgeon but it worries me how he changed his type of surgery on what I said.
Now it was off to see the ortho who did a full exam (the other neuro did nothing) and after going over my films he says " I really don't see anything wrong" so there is nothing I can do for you. What! I have had 4 MRI's since 2006 and all the reports say the same things and the last one was an upright one that showed even more wrong. How can nothing be wrong?
So now I will wait until I see my regular neuro in a couple of weeks. I was hoping since my latest MRI showed the herniations that maybe I could get away with another disectomy before going with the fusion.
So first has anyone experienced this type of change in their pain and such totally opposite opinions from Drs? Thanks, Dava