I've had lumbar decompression surgery twice (feb2011 & sept2011). The first gave total relief, but then sciatica recurred. The second relieved some specific neural tension symptoms, but leg pain on standing & walking continued. I seem to have a full set of lumbar spinal problems, including DDD, stenosis, scoliosis and a listhesis which has yet to cause problems. The last enhanced MRI showed bilateral nerve root entrapment at L5/S1.
Last week I had a posterolateral fusion with instrumentation at this level, and at the moment seems to have completely relieved the sciatica symptoms when walking, which was my main objective. Sadly, the wound is infected, so I'm in and out of hospital being swabbed and dressed and have a boatload of flucloxicillin to add to the fentanyl patch (12mcg) and gabapentin (300x3x3), plus tramadol as needed.
Assuming the op is a success and the resultant back pain, particularly harvesting the bone graft, continues to recede, I will have to start withdrawing from all the painkillers. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has done this. I don't feel addicted, indeed I don't feel any effects from the drugs beyond pain relief, but I've not been in this position before so wouldn't know what to expect.