Challenging situation I would like to hear some advice from my fellow peers.
Situation is this:
I have been have back pain for several years. Have been in PM for the last three years. Bulging discs and Degeneration on four levels. Up until a month or so ago PM was getting me by. Until one day while after working out (cardio only) my back starting hurting bad and it was becoming hard to even walk. Tried to stop by my Chiropractor but he said I should go to the ER. Was able to get a recent MRI and doctor there said to go and see an Ortho Surgeon. Luckily I had some films from six years ago that showed the one area that any doctor who would not have had my films from before would have thought the area from where they thought my pain was coming from was acute. It wasn't. They said also that they did not see anything pinching the nerves and said that they thought I was not a surgical candidate. But I explained that something was terribly wrong. I have four discs that are in terrible shape and the doctor said he was against fusing all four at my age (37). So the next step was to do a bone scan and a discogram. The discogram revealed that two of the discs were bring me most of my pain, but that the other two were also causing some discomfort. So the doctor is saying hey look buddy, the success rate for the fusions is horrible. If we fuse the two now, it will not be long until the other two need to be fused. He is also worried about making my pain worse in the end. (I appreciate that)... So now he wants to pass the buck and send me over to a Neurosurgeon and see what he thinks. They team up on most all his spinal cases.
Well one of my challenges is that I am in such pain that I am willing to take the risk to see if they can reduce my pain level by half. I am unable to function very well and I am in bed if I am not at work. I take my fair share of pain meds and my pain doctor has stated that I am between a rock and a hard spot. Doctors are not wanting to do the surgery or have sounded very conservative at this point and the pain doctor is not making any real head way with my pain.
I did however have a discussion with my PM doc about a spinal cord stimulator. He said these were constructed for the main purposes of failed surgeries and that it might be a good idea.
Is fusion my best option when it comes to surgery? Could they remove the disc and I still be safe and pain free?
I do not feel masking my pain with something else would be a good idea. Between meds and this spinal cord contraption I would not know if I am really hurting myself I think?
What do you guys say?
Your opinions are much appreciated.