I'm a 21 year old male college student that's been suffering with chronic back pain since before my 18th birthday. As of May (though I need new diagnostic imaging), my diagnoses consist of degenerative disc disease, hyperkyphosis, lumbar stenosis, and herniated discs at L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1. In addition to these issues, I had an incident a couple years ago that has put me on a cane to get around. I went to PT for 3 months straight and my condition didn't improve (might have had something to do with the fact that I didn't get into PT until about half a year after the incident). I should be off the cane, I know, but I'm in too much pain to get myself better if this makes sense.
I have had success using painkillers in the past, but due to a suicide attempt that I made this past summer, I was cut off of my meds, and have just recently gotten into a psychiatrist, but as far as analgesics go, I'm looking at a few tramadol a day. I'm very tolerant to painkillers, so this is almost like drinking water for the pain. She has mentioned referring me to a pain management physician, but since the suicide attempt, the ones that I've tried getting into wouldn't treat me because of it - guess I'm more of a liability than a patient.
That being said, I'd need to continue seeing this psychiatrist for several months so that she can build a good enough rapport with me before I get treated by one of these doctors it seems, and I'm tired of wasting away in the same recliner I've been sitting in for the past 2 years. I can barely get through classes, it's causing me to have panic attacks more often, I can't sleep, and it's worsening my depression.
Despite all this, I'm deathly afraid of going under the knife because of the possible complications, and the risk of making the issue worse. I've been fighting to not have to resort to surgery, but my parents are just pushing and pushing, and I'm starting to think this might be the only way that I have a chance. I've tried just about EVERYTHING conventional there is to offer. I've just been told by medical professionals as well as people I've known that have gotten back surgeries themselves that I would be very wise to put off surgical implementation as long as possible. I've also got a low pain tolerance and I fear that I'll get the surgery, it will go fine, but then I can't handle the PT needed to recover from it.
And now finally my questions; sorry for the rant.
While I really, really don't want to have surgery, does it sound like my only option? Does it sound like my current issues necessitate such an extreme intervention, even?
I know none of you are probably doctors, and even if you were, you wouldn't be able to give me a good prognosis, but regardless of the feedback regarding the above (on if it seems like having surgery should be a priority of mine or not), I would like to know what I would likely be facing in terms of procedure(s), the severity and length of recovery, and the amount of time that would need to lapse before I could resume attending class.
Because of how badly Obama's Healthcare plan is affecting our insurance when our year starts over in April, my mom is suggesting that I get have the procedure over spring break, and just go back to class, but from the research I've done today, that sounds like a really bad idea lol.
Any constructive advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm just tired of being an old man lol.
I am not a medical professional, and everything that I say should be taken with a grain of salt. No diagnoses or truely medical opinions can be drawn with out a physical, face-to-face doctor visit.