Hello all. I am new to this forum and don't really know where to begin. First off, I'm a 21 year old girl and I apologize in advance if this is written all jumbled. In June 2009 I began having back pain out of nowhere. My regular doctor thought it was a lumbar strain and gave me muscle relaxers and a prednisone pack and ordered an MRI. The MRI showed only a minor herniation at L4-L5 so I was told to go about with my life. Then, in December 2009, my back pain severly worsened. After getting another MRI, it was revealed that L5-S1 was beginning to degenerate. (Somewhere between June and March i did 2 more prednisone packs). I was given percocet and refered to a PM&R doctor (physical medicine and rehabilitation). I was given an epidural in January 2010 and it did not work. I received another in February and once again it did not work. I was told to find an orthopedic surgeon so I did. After one visit, the surgeon ordered an EMG and told me to go into pain management.( The EMG was negative). So, the pain management doctor ended up assuming it wad my SI joint causing me pain and put me on Norco (of course doing a drug test first) and had me start PT. He also gave me local injections. He also sent me for a bone scan and an MRI of the pelvis (both negative). When I told him PT was too painful he put me on MS Contin. I told him I would not take it at work but he wouldn't listen. To make a long story short, they made me flush my pills because they thought I was a druggie and a dealer because I was only 20 at the time. (I was in PM for about 6 months) Anywho, I left that PM program and found a new orthopedic spine surgeon in August 2010. After some XRays he noticed a transitional vertebrae and thinks that may be a cause to some of my pain.(He ordered a CT scan but due to recent insurance issues I have to wait until March to get it) I also received a diagnostic epidural in 2 facet joints and a diagnostic epidural in my SI joint(all these were negative. I believe my pain worsened from the PM dr having me do PT for the incorrect location. All he needed to do was order this injection!) My surgeon ordered a discogram which was very painfully positive. Now if you are still reading this, this is where it gets tricky. The discogram showed the pain was coming from an annular tear in L4-L5, not L5-S1 with DDD! So basically, I can fuse only L4-L5 and risk L5-S1 needing a fusion later in life OR I can fuse L4-S1 which will limit my flexibility very much. This wouldn't be as hard of a decision if I wasn't only 21. But I really want to do it because I have no quality of life right now. Also, I was a smoker for 8 years and quit almost 6 weeks ago to prepare myself for a possible fusion. Another thing I'd like to add is that I've been on 16 different medications for this problem but the psr is long enough without listing them. Sorry for this being so long. I appreciate all who read this and respond. Thank you! So, to fuse or not to fuse?