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Surgery?? Lumbago >1yr - 3 herniations, one large at L4/5

MargieJohnsonMMargieJohnson Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all.

This may sound like a dumb post, but I am not sure where else to go. Let me start with a little of my backstory...

Extreme low back pain began during my pregnancy and got so bad that I had an amnio at 36 weeks to see if I could deliver my son early. His FLM was positive, so we went ahead and delivered at 35w2d due to my extreme back pain via c-section.(not to mention I had been on percocet for the last month or so of my pregnancy for the pain... tried PT early in the pregnancy and it helped none...)

Fast foward to 4 months after baby - I had been having mild pain in my lower back since he was born, but figured I just needed time for my spine to get use to "normal" instead of carrying the baby around. I went to chiropracter and didn't get relief. Went to my Dr and began muscle relaxers and NSAIDS. Still no relief. Tried a different chiropracter. This time, I'd get a little relief, but only for hours. Dr changes my muscle relaxer and adds Lyrica - also orders lumbar x-ray series which was ruled "insignificant". Dr. ordered MRI and found 3 herniated disks, DDD, sponylolysis of L5, large disk protrusion at L4/5 heavily pressing on thecal sac - measured 1.2 cm.

I met with the spine surgeon this past Thursday. He said that he hardly every talks surgery with a patient on the first visit, but that "a blind man standing across the street could look at your MRI and tell you need surgery". (trying to get a photo of MRI put as my profile...) He did offer to give me some names for 2nd opinions and a good bit of information on the procedures that he believed I needed done. (laminectomy, diskestomy of L4/5 - posterior approach) I did ask about epidural steroid injections, which he said no problem, he could do it or arrange for the Dr. of my choice to do it. I have yet to schedule this as I am waiting for my insurance company to let me know about costs...

I guess my real question is - should I even seek a 2nd opinion? My husband wants me to exhaust all other avenues before considering surgery, but I'm only 27 - and in constant 6-7 level pain, with frequent spikes to 8-9 level pain. Even if the epidural steroid injections help with the pain, there's still going to be this degenerative process going on in my low back. Should I just suck it up and have the diskectomy? The Dr. warned me that even if I have this surgery now, that there's a good chance that I will need another one later on due to the DDD. He stated that he would leave what he could of my L4/5 disk ("Not that there's a whole hell of a lot left of it" - his words).
I know that me being overweight puts more stress on my back, but I can't even walk a half a block. Typical catch-222.

Any insight, advice - ANYTHING would be helpful right about nnow. I'm lost and no one around me understands the pain that I live with constantly.


  • Not to discourage you but please do the research on the steroid injections, especially since you just had a baby and hormones are already trying to get back to normal. There is a thread about side effects in the SI Joint forum.

    I say always get a second opinion but remember that each doctor has their own specialty so will always have their own opinion. Always try all minimally invasive techniques first if possible.

    If you do end up considering surgery, research minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques which would allow for faster recovery. Not all doctors can perform MIS so if the doctor you just saw doesn't, I would look elsewhere.

    Good luck and welcome! I am fairly new here myself!

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
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