I've been searching the internet the last few months for information about my back problems, and haven't seen many cases similar to mine. Long story short:
First, me- 38 year old male, full time firefigher/emt, and I used to be very active (running, swimming, weight lifting, cycling, etc) I have large frame (6'3" 225lbs) with minimal body fat. I had back spasms when I was younger, but strength training corrected those with no problems in over 2 decades.
Last couple months of 2010-back pain that began as mild and continued to get worse, went to doc and was told it was probably back spasms.
Early 2011 Pain continues to increase, as well as numbness and loss of motion of toes on right foot -Xray showed advanced DDD at L5-S1, doc scheduled MRI but figured the disc was herniated, started physical therapy and hydrocodone for pain
Therapy helped with numbness and loss of movement, helped slightly with pain. My activity level (since late 2010) has continued to diminish due to severe pain. Hydrocodone helped with pain, but was only a temporary solution to problem
MRI is completed. Neurologist informs me that yes, my disc between L5-S1 is in bad shape, but that it is not causing my problems, he shows me the MRI, and how my spinal canal is wide open everywhere EXCEPT my L4 vertebrae, which is narrowed considerably (about 1/4th the size of the others).
This was about 8 weeks ago, and the doc told me to do as much strengthening and exercising as pain would allow, which I've done. Sadly, I am not able to do nearly as much as I used to, and my follow up is in a couple days, upon which time I'm going to inquire about surgery options.
I'm not ready to give up my active lifestyle, or my career, at this point. I want this fixed and I want to be able to exercise like I used to. What kind of surgeries should I be looking for? I see websites promising minimally invasive surgeries, but is that an option for canal stenosis? I'm not sure if anyone here knows the answer, or of the options I'll be presented with, but any answers I can get before I talk to my neurologist would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading this novel :P