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Back Pain-L5-S1 TLIF Fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hello all,

New member here and here is my story. Need some advice.

A year ago, I twisted to put my son in the carseat and dropped to my knees. Seen the Dr and put me on flexeril...said its just a muscle. After 2 months, I requested an x-ray and it showed narrowing at L5-S1...Got an MRI and showed degenerative discs and sciatica. I did 4 months of cortisone and epidurals. They helped somewhat but nothing long term... I tried 12 weeks of PT, and that didnt do much either. Got a referal to see a Neurosurgeon and he gave me a Myelogram/CT scan..

That came back normal...He said I was a "mystery" even after complaining of tingling in my left leg. I do have DDD in 2 discs.. Shows arthritis, and luckily no stenosis. But he also said that I have some spurs in the nerve channel. Now he is recommending I look at getting a TLIF ( transforaminal-lumbar-interbody-fusion ). He also is sending me to a 2nd opinion tomorrow...

So now, I am scared as hell...I want to be pain free, but at what cost. Will I ever play golf again? How is recovery gonna be? Will I ever be 100% again? Its so hard to tell your kids that you cant lift them up because your back hurts. And I cant imagine what its gonna be to not work...I am gonna go nuts. I have never even missed a day of work because of pain. I have never been in the hospital for anything before..Im nervous that they wont be able to fix me, but at the same time, I am nervous to let them fix me. I dont know what to do...Please help!


  • Have you tried every conservative treatment available? That and a second and maybe even a third opinion would be my suggestion. There are no guarantees with surgery. Some folks have succes and some folks have worse pain than they had pre op. Which you will be is impossible to predict. You and your surgeon are the only ones that can make the decision. Do your homework and research all that is possible on the surgery and your surgeon. Check out the surgery topic and I feel sure that you will find folks that have had the same surgery that you are thinking of. Just remember that everyone is different and that somebody elses outcome may not be at all the same for you. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • It is important to understand that in almost all cases, spine surgery will not restore the patient to the way he/she was prior to the onset of pain or injury. Most people do not come out "good as new." It is not like having an appendix out where once you get over the surgical pain, your life pretty much goes back to normal.

    If you understand that concept,and you have REALISTIC expectations, you should be fine.

    Since you will not want to repeat the experience, be sure you are going to the best spinal specialist you can find. It is important to get several opinions just to be sure you are being treated appropriately. Again, any fusion is a BIG surgery and you need to know there are no alternatives before entering into it. Once completed, there is no turning back to a lesser procedure or treatment.

    That being said, if surgery is necessary, do you homework so you can enter into it with your eyes wide open.

    Good luck with your decision.
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