Just thought I'd share a bit of good news here. My pain is finally down significantly after my third surgery, an XLIF that removed a severely herniated disc at L3-L4 (the result of adjacent segment disease after fusion at L4-S1).
So there's hope, my fellow back pain sufferers. I don't expect this fix to last forever, but aggressive physical therapy is helping to strengthen the core muscles that were so weak before and contributed to my back pain.
It's been a nightmare going through pain hell. I can't help but look back on the past three years with with anything but total sadness. It was a period of misery that robbed me of my youthfulness, threatened to destroy my family and nearly cost me my career.
Only by the grace of God, and the help of some extraordinary surgeons, physical therapists and a superb pain management expert, was I able to cope with this tragedy. Few "healthy" people can imagine what it's like to have this kind of pain, a pain that words fail to describe because it is so primal, so miserably destructive and that sucks the life out of you.
I wish that all of us can emerge from pain hell some day. I encourage you to keep the faith and try everything that works.
There is hope.