Hello All -
I haven't posted in a very long time as I really felt I had nothing new to contribute and rehashing everything I was going through was just too much effort. Long story short - I injured my back at work in 9/09 and have struggled everyday since then. Although Workers Comp has recognized the accident and I have an open award letter from our state WC commission, denial of diagnostic procedures and treatments resulted in such damage that my only option was an L5-S1 ALIF after I started losing my ability to walk. At 12 weeks I had bone growth but a difficult recovery. I had a great deal of lordosis and my hardware had to be very carefully fitted to the curvature. My surgeon had been afraid the hardware would torque out of the bone. I developed bursitis in my left hip and my left SI joint locked. I received cortisone injections in the bursa, the SI, piriformis, a couple of epidurals - pain continued to increase and function decreased. I felt that something had physically changed in my spine but to my knowledge I had not done anything to injure myself. I had felt something pop when moving or turning over in bed - it felt ominous, but could you seriously hurt yourself turning to your side in bed?
WC case manager would not allow me to return to surgeon, PM doc just kept giving meds and injections. Luckily PM retired and I was able to get a referral to new PM and went back to my original spine orthopedist. Ortho did a flex x-ray and immediately found source of pain/new problem - L4 Retrolithisis, facet joint is as he said 'a total mess' and spinal stenosis. He explained that the fusion fixated the L5 and altered the curve so much that basically the L4 vertebra 'fell off' the stabilized spine. That explains the searing pain from L mid back into buttock, hip, and down back of leg; numbness down back of L leg, bottom of L foot wrapping around little toe, tingling below back of right lower leg and foot; and pelvic floor pain if standing too long. Whew.
New PM is suggesting SCS trial. Ortho says only surgical option is an L4-5 fusion. Oh my goodness. What to do? I'm not quite two years from my first fusion. It was the biggest, nastiest surgery I've every been through. I'm 56. A very young 56. Prior to my accident I had a super healthy back. I did yoga and Pilates. I had studied ballet for 24 years - if anything I was too flexible. Now I have permanent restrictions of sitting and standing intermittently for less than an hour each per day, walking as tolerated. I spend most of my time semi-reclined and taking lots of meds. Is there a chance the SCS will improve my quality of life? I'm sure ultimately the fusion will have to be done - but I want to be in the best shape possible. Is this reasonable? Anybody care to discuss?
L5S1 ALIF 2-22-11
Now L4 Retrolisthisis