I am a sufferer of L4-5 and L5-S1 problems at present. In 2006 I also had C5-6-7 fused via the Solis Cage technique.
Recently, after 2 years of major problems in the Lumbar area, i underwent a L4-5 discectomy. Whilst the surgeon had me open he checked L5S1 and 'trimmed' there too and also shaved some of the lamina bone.
When i woke up i was in a bit of pain but after a few days I was feeling a bit better with absence of leg pain. Week on week thereafter I started to make good improvements until week 3 when i had a nasty UTI. Putting that aside as a possible complication of this type of surgery i continued to make progress until week 8 when i had to go back to the office. My office is a 3 hour round trip which i did on 3 days. The following day all my symptoms came back with a vengeance - pain at that level, muscle cramps up from that level, buttock, back of leg, calf front and back and cramps when controlling my foot. All back again as i was before. This was (is) very depressing.
I saw the surgeon again and he immediately scheduled a MRI on this Monday coming.
I have a question now on MRI's (eventually getting to the point of this comment!) as i have had 2 of them already and I think they are of little use.
Please consider this situation - when a automobile goes into the shop with a flat tire and is lifted up on the jacks (the type that lift the vehicle by the chassis) the wheels and tires are lifted off the ground. I saw a mechanic walk around a car prodding each tire and checking it as he could not, with the tires not being influenced by gravity, see which one was flat.
I believe that lumbar MRI's are essentially VERY limited in their diagnostic abilities due to the same reason - gravity.
If the surgeon or imaging specialist cannot see the effect of gravity and the weight of the body on the spine, then they cannot see what the disc is doing unless the spine problem is really bad.
I would have thought (and I am in no way an expert) that a scanner that allows the patient to stand vertically in the device so that the images are produced "in real life" would be of far more benefit than one where the patient is lying down, as in the above automobile analogy.
So am I the only one that struggles to understand why there aren't standing MRI scanners? (or a maybe I've just not seen them yet!)
Any comments would be appreciated.