Hi! My name is Michelle. I'm 36 years old, and I underwent a spinal fusion and discectomy at L5-S1 about 10 weeks ago. I slipped on ice in December 2010 and injured my back. I had underlying pre existing conditions in my lumbar spine that I was totally unaware of (DDD and arthritis), as I had never had any pain at all before the accident. Apparently the fall "activated" my conditions and made them symptomatic, and also caused 3 herniated discs. In addition, my L5 fractured and slipped forward. I've got lots of pinched and compressed nerves, and have had issues with partial nerve compression CES. At first, my doctor thought it was simply a lumbar strain, but when the pain continued to worsen and spread down my legs, he took it a little more seriously. I had lots of X-rays and MRIs done, was referred to a pain management specialist and started PT.
Over the next year, we tried 12 weeks of PT, SI Joint injection, 9 Spinal Epidural Injections, Facet Blocker, Caudal Injection and Nerve Ablation. I tried Percocet (7.5-325), Morphine (60mg), Fentanyl patches (25mcg), Opana IR (10mg), Opana ER (10mg), Exalgo (10mg), Neurontin, Lyrica. Finally in September 2011 I underwent a Provocative Discography. After that, I consulted a surgeon. He wanted to remove the discs from L3-S1 and replace them with artificial discs, then perform a 4 level fusion.
Unfortunately, my injury is a workers comp case. Without going into details, I went through several hearings and 2 more surgical consults over the next 9 months, including an "independent" medical examiner that wc sent me to. Both of these surgeons agreed that I would be a candidate for surgery, but they wanted to only address the worst level, L5-S1, and see if I could get some relief from that. When the IME agreed that I needed surgery, I knew it was serious. Usually those guys just say whatever the insurance company pays them to say. The disc there was smashed like a pancake, had an internal fissure and was leaking. The L5 vertebrae fractured at the pars and slipped forward.
So finally, after all of the delays, I underwent the spinal fusion and discectomy. I'm about 10 weeks post op now. I started PT at 2 weeks post op at home - they actually sent the PT to me, which was great. I started Aqua Therapy at 6 weeks post op, and at 8 weeks I started land PT as well. I am currently on Fentanyl, Percocet, Lyrica and Cymbalta for the pain, which is still worse than it was before surgery. I'm hoping for a positive outcome. My dr says that if this doesn't work, he wants to open me up again and remove the discs from L3-L5 and fuse all of it together. Recovery has been terrible so I really don't want to go through this again.
Hope that's enough info from me (and not TOO much). So glad I found this forum, but wish I would have found this place sooner.
L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)